MBTA to Populace: Stay Off the T, You Pervs!

1207945676Starting on Monday, the MBTA will begin posting ads like this one. (Click here for a larger version; it advises victims of inappropriate touching to call police or take a picture with their phone.) It’s a more public version of the MBTA’s current anti-groping effort, in which undercover officers scan the subway for roaming hands, and is an earnest, welcome effort to address a legitimate problem. Many a sketchball, after all, own Charlie Cards.

Hopefully this added vigilance will be preventative medicine, scaring people out of causing a problem. But this particular ad doesn’t convey that message as directly as it should. That woman doesn’t look like she’s being groped; it looks like she’s squeezing past a crowd of people on a busy T. Ever take the Green Line after a Sox game? Like it or not, it’s a cuddle party in there. And although the MBTA should make every effort to protect the safety of its passengers, it should be careful not to misrepresent basic realities of the T, lest innocent riders wind up in some Herald police blotter. After all, groping and rubbing up against people is bad, unpleasant and illegal; pressing up against your fellow Bostonian is just bad, unpleasant, and cheaper than getting a cab.