MTA Rules Commuters are Breaking Every Day

By Alison Fox and Vincent Barone for amNewYork

Photo Credit:Alison Fox

man holding doors on nyc subway train

You can’t be too drunk. You can’t carry a cup of water. And you can’t hold the closing doors for that guy who’s running down the stairs.

These are just a few of the more obscure MTA rules that, while somewhat ambiguous and often broken, are rarely enforced. Some are ignored so often people don’t even realize they are breaking the rules. Read the full article here.

Number of subway fines issued in 2015 (and fine amount):

  • Obstruction of seating: 3,066 ($50)

  • Interfering with movement: 168 ($100)

  • Impairment by alcohol or drugs: 8 ($50)

  • Causing annoyance: 26 ($50)

  • Liquid in open container: 16 ($25)

  • Littering, etc.: 619 ($50)

  • Unauthorized commercial activity: 882 ($50)

  • Carrying obstructive object: 1 ($75)

Causing annoyance

man hcausing annoyance on nyc subway train

No person can "conduct himself or herself in any manner which may cause or tend to cause annoyance, alarm or inconvenience to a reasonable person or create a breach of the peace"; and if you do, you could face a $50 fine for your trouble.

Carrying obstructive objects

man obstructing passage with bike on nyc subway train

You'd be slapped with a $75 fine for carrying any object that "constitutes a hazard to the operation of the Authority, interferes with passenger traffic, or impedes service," according to the Transit Adjudication Bureau. But the rule is fairly vague in its wording, and could seemingly mean carrying anything from a large suitcase on a crowded rush hour train to a bicycle. Only one person was cited for that offense last year.

Seat obstruction

man obstructing seats on nyc subway train

You'd be written a $50 fine if you "lie down or place feet on the seat of a train, bus or platform bench or occupy more than one seat." The rule, however, does not make an exception for a completely empty train.

Carrying liquid in open containers

man carrying open container on nyc subway train

This rule prohibits riders from carrying "any liquid in an open container," including an open coffee cup, in order to prevent slipping hazards. Anyone who breaks this rule can face a $25 fine.

Interfering with movement

man interfering with movement on nyc subway train

Riders can be fined $100 for interfering with movement (preventing the doors from closing, included), but only 168 people were fined in 2015 for it, according to the MTA. It also includes "activating the emergency brake in a non-emergency or other interference that will delays or accidents."

Unauthorized commercial activity

man unauthorized commercial activity on nyc subway train

You will have to pay up $50 if you're caught "advertising" anything for sale. Similarly, riders can't distribute "food, goods, services, or entertainment (including the free distribution of promotional goods or materials)."


man littering on nyc subway train

You'll be slapped with $50 fine if you "