Local

Metro examines ways to combat 'seat hogging'

Red and Purple Line at Union Station.
Red and Purple Line at Union Station.
Todd Johnson/KPCC
Red and Purple Line at Union Station.
Union Station.
Todd Johnson/KPCC
Red and Purple Line at Union Station.
Red Line at 7th Street/Metro Center.
Todd Johnson/KPCC
Red and Purple Line at Union Station.
Expo Line at 7th Street/Metro Center.
File photo by Todd Johnson/KPCC


Metro is looking to join other public transportation agencies in the cracking down and fining of "seat hogs" – those passengers who take up an extra seat to make room for their bag.

Part of the inspiration for Metro is the policy in place for Bay Area Rapid Transit riders, who could be fined $100 for parking their bag on an empty seat. Agencies in New York, Philadelphia and Seattle have also implemented similar rules. A task force for Metro is being assembled and plans for a new policy began a couple of months ago.

The ultimate goal is to make sure every passenger gets one seat and improve the ridership experience, said Alex Wiggins, executive officer for Security and Law Enforcement at Metro. 

“Folks after a long day at work, if they have a long ride in particular, would like a seat, so we should free up as many as those seats as possible. It’s a great idea and it’s something that we are researching as well,” Wiggins said to KPCC. 

Seat hogging tends to come up during peak travel times, such as early in the morning when people are commuting to work or school. Metro’s operations division has been making adjustments and adding cars during those periods.

Metro hopes to roll out a plan by this year, Wiggins said, but first has to come up with a strategy that weighs all the factors, such as riders with medical conditions or weight issues. Passengers with those situations are exempt from the Bay Area Rapid Transit policy.

"But if it's because of baggage, or other material, I think it's fair to say one passenger, one seat," he said.

Once this rule is implemented in public, enforcement would be required in order for it to be successful, Wiggins said.

"We are researching those options now. Once we have a formal plan, we can get into the details of how we would actually enforce it," he said.