One thing I learned on the subway is that if you want a seat, you have to fight for it. No holding back. Unless it’s the seats designated for the elderly/impaired/pregnant. You don’t touch those.
In the winter the seats are heated, so you definitely want one, even though at first you grimace at the thought of such warm residue butt heat.
Ajummas in all their glory will throw their bags on seats to claim them as they push into the subway car.
If you couldn’t beat the ajumma to the last empty seat, then you have to stand in front of someone who did manage to snag one. You have to keep a sharp eye out for the telltale restlessness of a person who is getting ready to disembark. The moment they start to stand up, you can already begin your hawk-like decent into the barely-vacated seat. If you don’t, somebody else will.
Of course chance is a big factor too. If you are lucky enough to stand in front of people who are about to get off, then your chance of claiming that seat is much higher.
Sometimes, though, you end up in a dud spot and have to stand the whole way. Then it’s just torture to watch everyone around you be lucky and get a seat. The urge to switch spots is really strong, but the risk of it turning out to be like that traffic scene from Office Space is a little bit too high.
I just stay put and hope for the best.