With the L train un-shutdown set to un-commence next week, transit reporters expected a significant download of information at today's MTA board hearing (especially as this was the first meeting for newly-appointed MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye). But while there were no major updates on or significant new information about the L train project, we did get a clarification about the MTA's animal, plant and beam policy.

Foye was asked toward the end of the meeting about recent videos and photos on social media showing passengers bringing "exotic animals, furniture and even trees" on the subway, and whether the MTA is doing anything to regulate or monitor it. We assume by "exotic animals," the questioner was referring to raccoons, iguanas, emotional support hens and Ben Stiller, as opposed to very good bag dogs who have done nothing wrong, but Foye incorporated them into his response as well.

"The subway is a public space," he said. "We've got rules as to what's acceptable and not. Exotic animals and forests are not acceptable, they actually could endanger fellow customers and crew. As I understand it, there is informally a dog-in-a-bag policy." He added that his daughter uses a bag for her dog as well. (The "forest" is likely referring to the determined man who brought nearly a dozen plants onto the 2 train a few weeks ago.)

New York City Transit president Andy Byford then picked up the baton to get into the nitty gritty: "One of the things I love about this city is the subway, and what goes on down there never ceases to amaze me," he said. "Every time i go back to Toronto, it's so calm by comparison. So I love the vibrancy of the NY subway, I love that it's so kind of unpredictable. But there are some things that go on that shouldn't go on."

What they are trying to do, he said, is enforce a "better code of conduct" that encourages straphangers to remember that they have to share the subway space with, ya know, other human beings. "We want you to enjoy the subway, we don't control access person by person," he continued. "But there's certain decorum that has to be observed, there's certain rules we ask you to observe for the benefit of everyone. Things like, animals should be carried in a small basket. As the chair said, dogs for example should be carried in a small basket. At the end of the day if you're carrying so much stuff that you can't manage it, you're creating a blockage, you're creating a fire hazard, a safety and security hazard, that's not acceptable." If the MTA doesn't start distributing "Byford Baskets" to commuters as a good will gesture, they are really leaving gold on the cutting room floor!

During Byford's appeal to New Yorkers' common sense, he also brought up the viral video of a man bringing a big beam aboard the subway last month. And it turns out, Byford is a big beam truther: "I saw the video of the guy who appeared to be carrying the RSJ, or real-enforced steel joint. I'm not sure if that was actually true. That would weigh so much. I got the impression that was possibly a stunt actually. But people were amazed when they saw that."

So in conclusion: keep your exotic animals in your basket, and check to see if that giant beam is actually a giant beam and not a piece of styrofoam before you take a video of it. But our question is: how does he feel about alien-spider hybrid performance artists?

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