T to commuters: Don’t be beastly

Newest etiquette campaign features ‘courtesy critters’

The MBTA is using a new tactic to encourage commuter kindness: cute animals.

A poster campaign set to launch Wednesday features “courtesy critters’’ tasked with providing commuters friendly reminders on decorum.

“Don’t squawk on the phone,’’ reads one message alongside a cohort of parrots on the Red Line. “We hate to clip your wings, but not everyone wants to hear your conversation.’’

In another, a herd of elephants crash the back of a bus, spraying majestically with arched trunks.

“Don’t spray your germs,’’ the poster says. “Please cover your mouth with your elbow when you cough or sneeze.’’


Though this is the T’s fifth courtesy campaign in the last 12 years, officials decided to add an additional message this time around: “Don’t be a crab.’’ In short: Be nice to staff.

Beverly A. Scott, the MBTA general manager, hopes the 2,400 posters on buses and trains will remind riders of the importance of respectful habits, such as removing their trash when leaving the train.

“I really do believe most people are good people,’’ Scott said. “A lot of times, we just don’t think.’’

And Scott knows about good manners. She came to prickly Boston from warm, welcoming Atlanta, ground zero of Southern hospitality.

“Sometimes people say that the stereotype of New England is mean, or standoffish, or aloof,’’ Scott said. But, on her morning commute into Park Plaza, fellow riders have often offered her their seats, impressing her with their politeness.

Martine Powers

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