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U.S. campaigners warn of ‘man-spreading,’ authorities step in

Rush hour on the New York subway can be uncomfortable as eager travelers crowd in

Published: Updated:

Rush hour on the New York subway can be uncomfortable as eager travelers crowd in and some choose to spread their legs, taking up more room than is necessary. But now, a soon-to-be-unveiled initiative by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority seeks to set things right.

Despite the rush hour crush, some passengers – usually men it is alleged – take up extra space by spreading their legs in a “V” shape, according to social media campaigners.

The “man-spreading” issue as it has been tagged has now come to the attention of The Metropolitan Transportation Authority which is set to launch a public advertisement series to encourage men to “share a little less of themselves,” the New York Times reported this week.

One of the adverts targets male passengers, saying: “Dude, stop the spread please. It’s a space issue.”

According to the newspaper, subway riders have jumped up in number from a maximum of 5.1 million riders on any single day ten years ago to as many as 6.1 million passengers today. Meanwhile, the city’s population has grown to 8.4 million people.

Prior to the official boost to the anti-‘man-spreading’ campaign, subway riders took to social media to vent frustration.

Actress Kelley Rae O'Donnell takes photographs of offending passngers and posts the images on social media forums while dancer Jo Macaldo posted an image with the caption: “Guys, why do you do the #man-spread?” she wrote. “Is it painful to keep your knees together? I’m really curious.”

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Paul Fleuranges, told the New York Times that staff had spent time and effort ensuring the adverts were the right tone.

“I had them add the dude part,” he said, “because I think ‘Dude, really?’”