Get Ready for Gender-Neutral Public Transit Announcements

And a Few Recommendations for the New Ones

By Kady Ruth Ashcraft ·
Photo: Getty Images

As most public transit systems are for most urban dwellers, the Metropolitan Transit Authority is a thorn in the side of all New Yorkers. Locals complain about delays on the F line, or stalling out under the East River like LA natives bemoan rain. Famous Manhattanite, Woody Allen once said, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans." What he surely was inferring was that his plan was to take the subway to get somewhere on time. However, if you've taken the MTA recently, you may have noticed a slight improvement in your commute.

No, the transit authority is not doing anything to speed up service or make the stations cleaner. You're more likely to find a seat at 6pm on the BDFM than for any of that to happen. What is different, however, are the announcements. Starting earlier this month, the MTA stopped using the phrase "ladies and gentlemen" and have replaced those greetings with gender neutral ones like, "hello, passengers" and "good morning, everyone."

This is a step in the right direction, definitely. It's 2017, gender is over, etc etc. But I do strongly feel like the MTA could have taken a more homegrown approach to being inclusive and by that I mean give the announcements a more New Yorker feel. This isn't Pleasantville. What're they trying to prove with "good morning, everyone"? What the citizens of this garbage city, and I write that with a lot of love, deserve are greetings that reflect our grit and address the actual issues we experience on our commutes. We're the city of "I'm walking here!" so here are some suggestions of train announcements that demonstrate our stunning crassness, whilst remaining gender neutral.

"Hey assholes, if you see something, say something. Don't just tweet about it."

"We are being held momentarily by the train's dispatcher. None of your loud sighs or mumbling, 'I can't fuckin' believe it' under your breath is going to do anything."

"Yo mouthbreathers, this is an important message from the New York City Police Department. Keep your belongings in sight at all times. Protect yourself."

"Hey assholes, if you see an elderly, pregnant, or disabled person near you, offer your seat. There's no way you need that seat more than they do. Pick up your Trader Joe's bags and let them have it."

"Alright ass clowns, when the train arrives, please let the people onboard get off before entering the subway car. This should not be complicated and we can't believe we have to keep reminding you of this."

"Attention aspiring DJs, there is no need to blast your music on the train. Please use headphones when listening to your unbearable homemade beats."

"The subway is no place for manspreaders, which you may think refers to only men, but we are directing this at anyone who takes up multiple seats with their legs and/or Macy's bags."

"Hi there teenagers of all genders across all spectrums, please stop hitting one another with your backpacks. There are quieter ways to flirt with one another."

"Stand clear of the closing doors, you fucking fucks. We can't get anywhere if your body, in whatever form it exists, is in the way of the doors."

As New York embraces our evolving concept of gender, it doesn't have to lose the meanness that keeps all the midwesterners at bay. In fact, I envision a city where the tourists feel so alienated they don't dare stray from their mapped out path between midtown hotels and Times Square, let alone venture into the underground rat sanctuaries we call our transport system.

Kady Ruth Ashcraft

Kady Ruth Ashcraft is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and Amtrak Princess. Follow her on twitter @kadyrabbit and tweet her pictures of your pets.

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