DO’s And DONT’s of Riding the MTA: NYC Public Transportation


I spend at least 85% of my week traveling on NYCTransit System – MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority). This is how New Yorkers & Tourist get around… Some use the transit system for convenience while others have no other choice. Daily its filled with Local NYers as well as many people from all over the world. In most Cities and States their means to get around have cut-off times while NYC Subway and Bus System is 24/7. You can take either or to and from any Boro (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Bronx, Staten Island)

*Sidebar: Staten Island is the only City that does not have a Subway system but they do have the option of the FERRY (Manhattan-Staten Is)*

I felt it was time I shared Important DO’s & DONT’s while Riding The MTA! There’s so much to cover but this will be the SUBWAY EDITION! PART 1

Let’s start with Asking for Directions:

  • DONT just ask Anyone for them. Those who answer right away without hesitation as if you asked them to spell their name, they can be trusted but Not ALL NYers know their way around. The ones who have to think about it may not be too sure on what they’re talking about. NYers have a habit of wanting people, especially Tourist, to think they know it all.
  • DONT follow anyone when they say, “I’ll show you the way.” or “Follow Me, I’m going that way.” Sometimes its safer than Not to just get lost and figure it out for yourself. It’s really one of the Good Perks about New York in my Opinion.
  • DO plan your route out in advance. The MTA has a ‘Trip Planner’ you can use for accuracy. I use it often because it provides the best routes. It will also post Route changes and Repairs. (
  • You can also follow the MTA on twitter for ON SITE updates with all of the delays that WILL HAPPEN (@NYCTSubway)


  • DONT sit and act like you’re asleep when you see someone in need of a seat come and stand in front of you. You Ain’t Slick!
  • DO give your seat up to the Elderly, Children, Handicap, Pregnant Women. HELL! Women in General!!!
*CHECK OUT my write up where I discussed a situation that happened while my 11yr old daughter and I were riding one day:


  • DONT stand still on the Left side. That is the “Walk Up” side in either direction (Up or Down). This can be dangerous. Yes, this is an UnOfficial Rule but its STILL A RULE to follow. DONT be the one standing still on the Left side while someone behind you is trying to catch an incoming train. You face being yelled at, trampled, pushed out the way or worse.
  • DO stand still on the Right side. This is acceptable. This is the side to use when you do not want to walk up or down major flights. Or to text.

Proper Etiquette on Crowded Trains- TAKE YOUR BOOKBAG/BACKPACKS OFF:

  • DONT get on a crowded train with your Backpack or Bookbag on your back. This becomes a horrible situation for many reasons. These things take up too much space. Technically it’s another body in ‘item’ form. You risk the chances of being pick-pocketed/robbed. You may even come on a cart that I’m traveling on. I usually ask for the co-passenger to remove their bag. Sometimes they do. Other times I’m looked at with evil eyes but that’s Ok. -one time someone didn’t listen and had their bag unzipped and as soon as they stepped off, all of their shyt fell out! *Shrug*
  • DO remove it when you step on but if the train isn’t packed, its Ok to leave it on. Be courtesy.


  • DONT ride the MTA while you are Wasted and/or Tired. Especially Alone. THIS IS VERY DANGEROUS. Many bad things can and have happened to other passengers. Terrible things happen Daily, in fact. People have been robbed, fondled and beaten while sleeping on the train while they were alone on a cart or had very few people willing to help. You may even miss your train when it arrives if you’re passed out on the platform. And just last year, (2017) a lady who was riding the “J” train in Queens, NY was peed on while she was asleep and wearing headphones. Below is the article because I cant make this stuff up.
  • DO stand up if you know you are tired. Travel with a ‘buddy’ ESPECIALLY if you plan on drinking while out and planning on taking public transportation.
  • DO stay Alert at all times. IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING.
  • DO check out my hashtag on IG #NeverADullMomentWhileRidingTheMTA for more.
*A few months ago I was riding the Subway w/my 19yr old and a man sitting a few feet away from us felt the need to start Masturbating. Thanx to the FREE WIFI provide by the MTA, I was able to send a Tweet to the @NYCTSubway, @NYPDTransit and @MTA twitter handle and they were on it immediately…*



  • DONT,,, I REPEAT, DO.NOT.BRING.PETS.ON.THE.SUBWAY (MAINLY DOGS) unless Authorized, meaning= SERVICE/WORKING DOG. Everyday I find myself sending pictures (via tweet) to the MTA. Not because I wanna be a Snitch but because this is not safe. For 1, Myself and others are allergic. Also Pets being on board can cause them to attack another passenger. If a situation arises on a subway cart, you never know how that pet may react. While on the platform, unleashed, which is how I see them mostly, they can go after a Rat on the tracks, get electrocuted and cause major delays… I mean, Anything is possible. The MTA said to me they post info on their website but that’s not good enough. Not all riders/Pet Owners know to look on their site and its rules that should be posted on trains and in train stations. In the meantime I will let the owners know the deal.
  • DO bring them on board in a carry bag if you must. This is acceptable for smaller dogs.


  • DONT be alarmed but its a HIGH Presence of homeless people who ride/live on the Subways. They will spread out like Us Passangers are invading THEIR Space/Home.
  • DONT get on empty cart if you see the other carts are full. This means its either Funky, someone was sick, NO AC/Heat and more often than not, you will be entering a “Homeless” cart. Be ready for unbearable smells, Carts, bags and suitcases. As well as them spread out on seats. I usually avoid the corner seats on any cart of any train because that’s where they normally post up. The doors close fast so by the time the smell hits you, you will be closed in. You will suffer for what will only be about a minute but will seem like a day going from one stop to the next. However some delays cause the trains to go slower and stop in between stations then it may seem like a Year of Slow Death.
  • DO step on with caution. Bring wipes if you want to wipe down your seat before you sit. I Do! You never know who or what was on your seat before you. I wipe down poles too because folks don’t wash their hands.


  • DO enjoy the subway entertainment. I always find joy in seeing the talented people on and off the trains. I’ve even seen talented people come on subway carts to perform just for the experience. They are not asking for money or anything. They do it for the exposure and experience. These are the times I will donate to them. Here is me and one of my Favorites. Mike Yung (@MikeYung). You may have seen him after he went viral and now hes currently touring and selling out shows. Follow him and check out his website:

*Feel Free to donate to some of the panhandlers. You’re not suppose to but I’ve been down and out and sometimes they have no choice, however, there are a lot of scammers who do this kind of hustle as a career. They are good too. Academy Award winning acting about being homeless, sick, just came from hospital, etc. Then the kids/teens come on and will straight up tell you, “I’m raising money so I can have money in my pockets so I wont have to resort to crime.”*
  • DONT wear your work badge where your place of employment, Work ID# and Name are exposed. You don’t want someone effecting your coins from coming in. Or follow you. Or call your job reporting you for nonsense. Or using your name and job for some illegal mess.
  • DONT Man-Spread (Men), or put your bags in a seat someone can sit in (Women).
  • DONT lean on poles meant to be held on to by passengers.
  • DONT blast your music through your headphones. It’s OK to wear them but you want to be alert at All Times. You want to keep the volume at a level that you can still hear whats going on around you. I have seen fights break out, I have seen people miss their stops or failed attempts getting off on time because they did not hear announcements being made via subway speakers.
*Sidebar: I wear headphones when I’m riding the trains whether I’m listening to something or not. This is helpful because it will avoid someone striking up a conversation. If you’re nosy like me, you can ear hustle on a convo and they wont know. So those of you who like talking loud on the phone, BEWARE. In general it stops those who have ears that clog or pop when riding so it serves as ear plugs.*
  • DONT hold doors open. This causes delays. When automated voice or conductor says, STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING DOORS, Please DO!
  • DONT let the hustlers at the station tell you they can swipe you on. They will tell you to give them $2.00 cash and they will swipe you on instead of you paying $2.75 which is the fee per ride (as of today). This is illegal. They spot the tourist and they frequent the trains that take you to and from JFK & Laguardia Airports.
  • DO report things that seem out of line like, unattended bags, sick passengers, etc. IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING! DONT be quick to be the next Social Media hit! Instead of using your cell to record, use it to call 911 or tweet @NYCTSubway, @MTA, @NYPDTransit immediately.
  • DO enjoy the artwork on the subway carts, on the walk paths along the walls in the stations. Art is Everywhere these day! I love it! The SHUTTLE train that takes you along 42nd Street in NYC (aka Manhattan/The City) back and forth from Time Square to Grand Central is usually turned into a train advertisement Ad for movies, TV shows, Brands etc. Inside and Outside. Below are picture I took while riding aboard the E-line. For more check out @MTAArtsDesigns on IG.

  • DO read the FREE newspaper, “AM NewYork” which you can pick up inside or outside train stations. They’ve even added some of my comment tweets made while riding the MTA.

  • DO wear comfy footwear when you can. Most Straphangers (A frequent NYC Subway rider) especially those heading to and from work (jobs that require dressing up), rock kicks when traveling because riding the MTA requires standing on trains and platforms, walking up/down flights of steps and escalators. Lets not forget Guaranteed delays. And in worse case scenarios, you have to be ready to run for your life – in all seriousness. This is why you may see a woman carrying an extra Tote on her shoulder. We do “Mister Rogers” change once we arrive at work or important engagements.

Lastly, I wanted to include this clip of my daughter when we went to visit the NEW YORK TRANSIT MUSEUM (Brooklyn, NY) (

Hopefully this has been informative to you. Please comment anything I may have missed so I can add it to Part 2 when I work on that. Leave me comments on you’re MTA experiences and things you may have seen. I am available to answer questions you may have about riding. Let me know a few DOs & DONTs about riding the train system in your City/State. I’m interested in learning about other places because one thing I love doing is riding Public Transportation when I’m in other places. I like to see the differences. I complain about the MTA but I have to take it because driving will cost me more in Gas, Tolls, Parking, Time & Patience. Especially in NYC! So Travel Safe, and as always,


2 thoughts on “DO’s And DONT’s of Riding the MTA: NYC Public Transportation


    Why are pocket books/purses then acceptable ??????

    A small backpack/book bag takes up far less room than a large pocketbook/purse.
    I use a smallish backpack [book, lunch,money, keys,gum…barely can squeeze small 12.5’x 9′ laptop in] as it’s better for the shoulders] and I’m supposed to take it off while some woman has her suit-cased sized purse digging into my ribs. Bad rule, should apply to all carry-ons or none,

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