The MTA is looking into ways to ease the rush-hour crush, and the latest idea is to remove seats from subway cars to create more overall room in the car.

Joe Lhota, Governor Cuomo’s new appointee to lead the MTA, says the MTA will try removing seats on two lines, the L train and the S between Times Square and Grand Central.  But he also mentioned that it could help the Broadway line, and particularly the 96th Street station, according to the Daily News.

“The standing-room only cars would accommodate about 25 more riders than current carriages, which hold roughly 150,” the News reported.

Other cities have tried this sort of thing, but riders tend not to like it, according to a News review. In Boston, the train authority tried removing seats from some lines, but put about half of the seats back two years later after customer complaints. The MTA still needs to work with federal regulators before it can launch the pilot on the L and S lines.

NEWS | 83 comments | permalink
    1. EricaC says:

      This would make them highly unreasonable for those were handicapped or injured, it seems like every Deculus idea. Surely they can do better than removing all the seats

      • MQue says:

        I rarely see young adults give up their seats for these people anyway so what would be the difference.

        • Irv says:

          I am 87 years old and am generally surprised how helpful people are on the subways and busses and offering me a sit. Most New Yorkers are helpful and polite. Most NYC people are very nice. It is a great city with some wonderful people.

    2. BillyNYC says:

      I’ve been living here on the upper West side for 50 years I have never use the subway and never planned to. My office sends me a limo every day. I think people who take subway don’t deserve seating… what do you want for the price you pay for subway or bus ?

      • ScooterStan says:


        INCOME INEQUALITY has found its voice!

        Elitism, Arrogance, Intolerance, Snobbishness, and a slew of disgusting personality traits that have yet to be named.

        Obviously you’re “From Away”… you sound like a crypto-UES’er

        • Mark says:

          “I’ve been living here on the upper West side”

          ScoterStan, I think you have missed the changes that have taken place in the UWS population, often evident in the WSR Comments.

        • EricaC says:

          We’re you played by this comment, or are you playing along? This doesn’t sound real , , ,,

      • Keiran says:

        My, what a wonderfully arrogant, entitled, and ignorant thing for you to say!

      • AC says:

        You’re obviously living on Fantasy Island and not Manhattan Island. A true Upper West Sider, New Yorker for that matter, rides the subway. My regards to Mr. Roarke!

      • UMF293 says:

        Billy, are you self-aware? Your post simply states you’re better than the rest of us and that you’d prefer us in cattle cars. Thanks for the comment and have a nice day.

      • young_man! says:

        I’ve lived on the upper West side for 50 years.
        My office send me a helicopter every day.
        Let them eat cake I say.

      • DanR says:

        We don’t “deserve” seating? Billy, if public transit is beneath you, that’s fine. However, the majority of the city relies on it and belittling the issue doesn’t contribute here.

      • Peter Brandt says:

        Limo’s may be comfortable but travelling from 110th St to Time Square is supremely faster by subway.

      • GG says:

        This is so obviously a fake trolling comment. Why are you trying to stir up nonsense on this site so early?? Is that what you like to do? upset people by being a contrarian jack-%@#??

        Well, if that was your intent…well done. I hope you are proud of yourself.

        Oh by the way, be careful not to leave your monocle and top hat in the limo. Meanwhile, me and the rest of the unwashed masses will continue to ride the buses and subways. Thanks.

        Now, if you were serious…well, all I can say is that I pity you and anyone who has to deal with you.

      • New UWS says:

        I am going to go one step further. I believe the MTA should subsidize your limo rides. And include limo rides to for your children to ps199. Or if they go to a fancy boarding school, the MTA should provide transportation there too.

        Sarcastically yours,


      • UWSHebrew says:

        BillyNYC — your sarcasm is fantastic, and it’s sad how NOBODY on here got you and instead, took your comment seriously. I thought liberals were the ones with senses of humor! Maybe years ago. Today they’re part of the Daily Show / Stephen Colbert crowd, which is the most unfunny stuff ever seen on TV, and it’s lapped up by the Marxist sheep. Good on you BillyNYC, stick around!

        • ST says:

          My thoughts exactly…shocking that liberals who have no problems telling everyone else should live don’t even recognize sarcasm.

        • Come On says:

          THANK YOU FOR SAYING THIS. I’m like, Upper West Siders are statistically supposed to be some of the better educated people in America. For frick’s sake, we have an Ivy League university in our hood. Except you people aren’t smart enough to get an OBVIOUS joke? I guess the faux outrage has pushed common sense clean out of their heads.

      • BMAC says:




      • Sandra H Gleich says:

        LOL, you’re so special.

      • Wijmlet says:

        How considerate of other humans, like our Pres.

      • Mary says:

        Okay you must be the Trumpster. Bored with Twitter.

      • Gary Schulze says:

        Pretty selfish attitude, BillyNYC. One day you’ll lose your job and be forced to use the subway.

      • Nene says:

        I think Billy made those comments to get everybody’s attention which he is actually doing. Anything for attention and comments!!!

    3. Christopher S. says:

      That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

    4. Sean says:

      The handicapped and the injured as you put it rarelyride the subway. It’s a system designed to get people to and from work. Lately it has been overrun by tourists. The handicapped use a bus or Access A Ride. There are always campaigns to make the subway accessible. Realistically it isn’t going to happen on any grand scale.

      • EricaC says:

        I used it quite a bit with a broken ankle, and continue to use it with a damaged knee – on my way too and from work (and elsewhere in the city). People have actually been pretty good about letting me have a seat when the injuries have been bad, and even now, when I don’t get a seat given to me, I can usually get an empty seat before standing on my leg is completely intolerable. That would no longer be possible if they remove the seats altogether.

        In any event, we are all better off if more people commute, and it is a legal requirement (at least for now) to make the system available to those with disabilities. Removing the seats would be a step in the wrong direction.

    5. DL says:

      I am 63 years old, with some health issues. I live on the Upper West Side and work in the Bronx. The only way I can manage a daily round trip to the Bronx is because I usually get a seat on the #2 train. This decision would seriously impact my ability to continue working. I hope common sense prevails.

    6. Mark says:

      Very few people really need to sit on the subway. If people have the strength to push themselves into a train before letting others out and past people to race to a seat, they have the strength to stand for the ride.
      Sorry, that goes for pregnant women too who aren’t in the last few days of their pregnancy. I just love hearing pregnant women who go to a spin class in the morning or ride a bike for exercise and then whine that a person didn’t give up their seat on the subway so they could sit for a 10 minute ride. Americans are shockingly weak compared to so many other cultures when it comes to pregnancy.
      I first realized this when my mother told me how silly it all was. She had 5 kids, worked until a few days before delivery with each one, and stayed physically active each time.

      • Mark says:


        With all the people that you have managed to insult with this one post, I need to make it clear that this attitude is very different than my own.

        • Mark says:

          Who are you?
          I’m Mark.
          What part of my post do you disagree with?

          • Mark says:

            First you assumed that people don’t need seats as evidenced by their pushing in to the car before allowing passengers to exit and then they run to seats. You must know that the elderly/disabled are not doing that, yet they are the ones requiring a seat.

            Then you assume that all pregnant women do not require seats. That’s just not the case.

      • LEE APT says:


        • Mark says:

          Ridiculous argument.
          Do you have any actual information to disagree with or do yo always voice your objections IN CAPITALS?

        • anon says:

          I’ve been pregnant and was just fine standing on the subway to/from work. The very worst was when I had severe morning sickness the first 3.5 months but no one would have known I was pregnant then so I just stood, chewed on ginger candy and hopped off at a station if I felt too ill.
          My pregnant friends and I continued to go to spin/barre/gym classes and walk in the park throughout our pregnancies. If a seat was open on a non-crowded car I took it sometimes but if not, no big deal.
          I will say that what I did need was a pole to hold onto as pregnancy does kind of throw off your balance a little.

          • EricaC says:

            It sounds like you had a great pregnancy, and it was terrific that you were able to keep exercising throughout. That is not universally true.

          • Jen says:

            Your comment is very misleading. Congrats on your easy pregnancy but mine was a very high risk and I badly needed those seats. So did quite a few of my friends during their pregnancy. And no, we couldn’t exercise and then take a subway. And before I hear from trolls – not everyone can afford a taxi every day.

    7. Sammy says:

      Older people are not stable on their feet. And of they are also cutting bus lines, which older adults favor, it seems that the MTA is falling victim to age discrimination.

    8. Westside_Mimi says:

      Another reason to start biking, if you can.

    9. Peter Brandt says:

      What about seats for the elderly & disabled ?
      Anyone thought of adding more trains, more frequently ?
      The Chairman / CEO may not have as much money left over for his salary, but I won’t shed a tear for him/her.
      With ridership up, you’d think there’s more $$$ to keep the stations cleaner !

    10. CosmoAndCharlie says:

      I don’t think it is acceptable to remove all the seats, but it is quite reasonable to remove half of them. This would provide a way for disabled/elderly/etc to have a seat, yet provide more overall room at the rush hours. And we really need the room.

    11. Carlos says:

      Removing most (but not all) of the seats from the S is actually a decent idea as it is a very short ride that gets very crowded at rush hour, so getting a few more people on each train is helpful. But leave a few seats for those who really need it. And have the trains run as frequently as possible – fill the train and get it out of the station.

      Removing seats for regular lines that go longer distances is not a good idea.

    12. JasonK says:

      The article does not say they are removing the seats from all cars on the train. If removing the seats on say, 2 of the 10 (or so) cars of the train adds more capacity, and speeds things up I think it could be an improvement. Especially if the seatless cars are always in the same position (second to first and second to last maybe?) and there is clear signage on the platform so you know you are waiting in front of a car where you will have to stand.

      • Mark says:

        Increasing competition for fewer seats will mean fewer elderly/disabled sitting.

        Not so good.

        • Frank says:

          I don’t believe it would play out that way but to your point they could then designate more seats for elderly/disabled people. Make it more clear that those seats are reserved for those people so people that aren’t aware of our culture of giving up your seat to them will hopefully be more clear.

          I’ve taken thousands of subway rides and have never seen an elderly person or disabled person forced to stand. Someone will always do the right thing in my experience. I know I have many times.

          • Mark says:

            I do believe that it will fall disproportionally on the elderly and disabled.

            Posting more decals isn’t a solution either.

    13. matt says:

      WEST SIDE RAG: if you read the plan, there is nothing about entire trains without seats, but only certain cars to alleviate crowding (and i don’t think there is anything about the 1, 2 or 3) #getyourfactsstraight

      • West Sider says:

        It’s being tested on the L and S, but Lhota mentioned the 96th street station on the 1,2,3 as a spot that could also use this in the future.

        • matt says:

          even so, nothing about entire trains w/o seats, right? will be confusing for people reading the headline.

          also, i’ve been reading for years and this is the first comment i’ve ever left. i guess there is no going back now.

          • West Sider says:

            Thanks! It was a very good comment, and we’ve updated the headline to make it more clear. Appreciate it!

      • Susan says:

        It would make more sense to remove some seats on more cars, rather than all seats on a couple of cars, because people who need seats may not realize they are in a standing-only car until it is too late.

    14. Dale says:

      Don’t think the overcrowding would be solved by taking out seats … I think the over crowding would be solved by having more trains running (and running properly) … I have never seen more understand a system that can be so crippled by the slightest thing … a signal problem with tie up the system for hours — a sick customer with cripple the system for hours — a track fire will cripple the system for hours — a disabled train with cripple the system for hours … last week at the height of the heatwave 3 days out of it I had to ride trains that had no AC … having been in other countries transit systems those car would never been allowed to run unless they had functioning AC … there seems to be a very slow and ponderous reaction time to and issue that develops and this compounds the problems throughout the system — I also do no think the MTA needs so many board members that are paid salaries that most NYrs will never see in a lifetime — I think the board members should come from the average ridership so that they can directly influence the systemic problems …

    15. Fyi says:


      It is NOT that the whole train would be standing room only. Some cars. As long as people reliably knew where to go (I.e., elderly, handicapped, etc.) it should not affect their ability to use system.

      • Mark says:

        Increasing competition for fewer seats will mean fewer elderly/disabled sitting.
        Not so good.

        This seems to be a common recommendation here on WSR, I wonder about the age group of these commenters.

    16. Marci says:

      Every idea the MTA proposes is to the disadvantage of the rider. Imagine being in one of those cars when the train derails or gets stuck indefinitely? Next they’ll be talking about hiring train pushers like they have in Japan; people whose job it is to literally push the people into the jam-packed cars to get the doors closed.

      • Juan says:

        If you are the rider who is now getting on the train because there is more room rather then being left behind in the station due to a full train, I think this is potentially really to your advantage.

        You can easily get rid of 50% of the seats in a train car, have plenty of seats for those who really need them, and create more space.

        Also, please remember that many of those who need seats the most visually appear to be fine. Bad back or foot pain cannot be seen and often afflicts those who are younger.

    17. Sandra H Gleich says:

      Will they be adding more hand-holds? I can’t reach the over-heads and there are too few horizontals.

    18. Eln says:

      Troll alert. This is a boring attempt to try and bait “you”. Yawn.

    19. S. Dworsky says:

      disgusting – NYC can do better than that – more subway cars would be a start – MTA supposed to serve the public – and this is the best plan they can come up with? How about people who need seats – parents with small kids,those who travel long distances especially at rush hour, the elderly, the handicapped, tourists with luggage, etc, etc, etc.
      I suggest cutting the salaries of the executives and tying any increases or bonuses to results – after all who pays the salaries? Our taxes and our fares….then do not come up with a sleazy solution – this is the 21st century stop thinking like it’s the 19th century.

    20. Ellie says:

      It’s a terrible idea. If the train got stuck you’ll be standing for who knows how long. I’ve always given up my seat for someone who needed it more than me, but I am getting older now and need to sit if it’s a long ride. Also, if I am standing when the train is crowded, it’s so awkward to hold on with arms going in all directions. God forbid the train is bumpy and you knock into someone, you could be harmed by an arrogant passenger.

    21. Mary says:

      NO! I’m disabled and will be unable to go to work. What about older people or those who have been on their feet all day at work? We don’t need count down clocks, wifi, or new lines. We need signals fixed, cars replaced and upgraded, and maintenance.

      • Mark says:

        I agree. A proposal to improve commuter’s travel time at the expense of the disabled and elderly is abhorrent.

    22. margaret beels says:

      what a great way to keep old people and disabled people and pregnant women, just for starters, out of the subway. A Genius thought of this one

    23. Janet David says:

      How do we contact the MTA to object to this plan?

    24. Ellie says:

      This proposed experiment disadvantages those who are elderly, infirm, pregnant, tired, differently abled… Loading more people in, cattle-car style is a horrid idea, surely transportation planning can come up with more equitable solutions. This experiment, will likely become ‘the norm’ if it proceeds,alas.

    25. Flo says:

      Not a good idea. …what happens to elderly or handicapped people who cannot stand. Put more trains in service. Add don’t subtract !!!

    26. Nene says:

      I don’t mind standing 4 or 5 stops. More than that I want a seat going home. 20 stops.

    27. Marie says:

      Just make folding seats in the subway car and have them folded during rush hours. MTA can do it, they already have those seats in buses.
      Japan used to have folded seats in some busy rail lines but since the crowd has decreased they stopped using them a few years ago.

    28. Craig Heard says:

      Seems appropriate since these trains are already cattle cars.

    29. Susan says:

      This may be ok on the S– since the ride is short. Please don’t take away our seats on the other trains.

    30. Daisy Rosa-Rodriguez says:

      So what happens to people that are disabled that also work part time when they need to seat. You know New Yorkers are very comfortable and sharing is not first priority.

    31. Paul of NYC says:

      On the subway ride home tonight I thought on what removing seats in the subway cars would entail. In order to remove the seats the attached poles would also have to be removed. The poles and seat appear to be a single fixture. New poles would have to be designed and fabricated so passengers would not hit their heads and still have something to hold on to. Seats can accommodate 40 passengers, so an additional 65 people would now be standing. Also in some cars the ceiling is lower at the sides of the cars-no room for tall passengers to stand.

    32. Nadine Laguardia says:

      Really? and what if your handicapped, old, pregnant, or have a toddler. Those people should sit on a bus forever? Or maybe those people shouldn’t leave their neighborhood?

    33. Are these standing room seats going to be priced at a discount? Or, is this an extension of the MTA policy of less for more?

    34. STEPHEN says:

      Thanks from the old folks and handicapped

    35. Pete says:

      I skimmed through the comments and am amazed that not one of you understand why seatless cars are coming. The city wants to stop the thousands of homeless who sleep on the trains and take up seats. That is a big part of this plan. How does the city get the homeless out of the subway? If there are few or no seats on trains and in stations the homeless can’t camp out there. The city can expand and improve access a ride for disabled folks. This is about the homeless.