"Seat Hogs": The New Scourge of Public Transit?

With city budgets stretched thin and more people riding trains and buses, public transportation is getting more crowded. As the Washington Post reports, in Washington, D.C., and Manhattan (and probably elsewhere!), there's a growing irritation with "seat hogs": people who intentionally sit in an aisle seat in an empty row forcing their fellow commuters to stand.

Brooke Timmons grasped a bar in the middle of a crowded Red Line rail car and held on, looking exasperated as she tried to keep her balance while the train jerked and accelerated down the track.

On both sides of Timmons sat riders referred to on commuter Web sites as "seat hogs." A man and woman occupied aisle seats with empty spots beside them but made no move to slide over and offer Timmons a seat. ...

As Washington's public transit network grows more congested, with Metro projecting "unmanageable" levels of saturation on its rail system by 2020, the phenomenon of people taking up more than their share of space is becoming increasingly touchy.

There's even a peevish blog,, dedicated to documenting the inconsiderate monopolization of public seating. I'd like to think that in most cases a respectful request for a free seat would work. Perhaps those Love Seats from Copenhagen would get people into a friendlier state of mind (or maybe they're just weird).

At any rate, it's nice to see our news media addressing the social mores of public transit, and the need for more capacity.