Food Fight! Proposed Bill May Ban Eating in Subways

A proposed state bill aims to reduce the number of rats and litter by banning food on subway trains and in stations.

Getting out of the door in the morning can be tough, especially when you don’t have time to eat. Is your subway commute the only time you have to chow down?

Well, subway riders may have to rethink where to eat that morning bagel if a proposed bill to ban eating in the subway passes, says The New York Post.

Proposed by Senator Bill Perkins (D-Manhattan), the ban on subway eating hopes to reduce the number of rats and litter from stations, says the report.

If the bill is passed, straphangers caught snacking on any train, platform or shop throughout the city’s transit system could be slapped with a fine of up to $250.

The Post says that money from the fines would go towards a litter-prevention fund.

Many Monday morning subway commuters at the Seventh Avenue B and Q train station said that they disagree with the proposed bill.

“I eat on the train everyday,” said Frannie Kelley, who was drinking a cup of coffee while waiting for the B train to Manhattan. “It’s inhumane to tell people they cannot eat on the subway.” 

Kelley said she lived in Washington D.C. for three years—where it is illegal to eat on the Metro—but she ate her meals on the train everyday and was never reprimanded. She said that even if the law does pass, it will not be enforced.

The MTA does not allow open beverage containers, and although the bill has not been passed, the agency does discourage eating.

Andre Alistratov, who was also sipping coffee at the Seventh Avenue station, also said he eats on the train.

“I do eat, but I always feel bad about it. But I eat sandwiches, they’re quick and easy,” Alistratov said. “My sandwich is not going to attract rats. They have already made their home here, for them it’s a safe, wet, dirty place.”

But other riders try their best to refrain from indulging while on the train, especially food with a strong smell.

“I try not to, if I think it’s odorous I definitely don’t eat it. Plus, it’s rude when people eat MacDonald’s, it’s totally inappropriate,” said Christopher Kromer, a Prospect Heights resident who was also waiting for a Q train to Manhattan. “If I have an everything bagel with cream cheese I won’t eat it because people may be hungry, or not like the smell.”

Disrespectful or not, some think a lack of trash may hurt MTA employees. 

An MTA employee, who was changing the trash bag from a garbage can on the train platform, said a law like this could make him lose his job.

“If this goes through I won’t have a job, there will be no trash,” the MTA employee said who asked to remain anonymous.

What do you think? Is the proposed ban on eating on subway trains and platforms practical at all, or is a necessary law to cut down on the number of riders who treat the train like their dining room?

Share your thoughts in our poll below, or in the comments section

Art Bisig January 31, 2012 at 01:57 AM
What a tough job it would be to implement this.
Matthew in BK January 31, 2012 at 12:12 PM
I could cope with subway eating if it were people consuming a power bar or something similar to get through a long commute. However, my experiences in NYC tend to be similar to a recent incident when a man sitting opposite me was eating fried chicken and dropping the bones onto the floor of the subway. Even if he was hypoglycemic and needed to elevate his blood sugar, this showed complete disregard for his fellow passengers and the transit workers whom were going to be cleaning up after him.
Zarda January 31, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Let's hope this goes through. The ride is disgusting and people eating add to it. Tupperware nannies, chicken and fries, dripping pasta in styrofoam, bananas and oranges, bagels with eggs. The stench is overwhelming, the roaches abundant, the rats flock around the platforms. Ever see people eat right across from you on a crowded train? Not pleasant. Washington DC makes eating on subways illegal and Japan, while not illegal, posts signs and considers this a definite NO.
crystal January 31, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Agree with Zarda, the subway is no place to have your lunch, but doubt it will be enforced. Isn't taking up empty seats with bags illegal? And what about people blatantly talking on cell phones while driving. The problem is just too many inconsiderate and self absorbed people while law enforcement is looking for other stuff.
lashaun February 15, 2012 at 12:57 AM
I feel the rats r there and growin..me... I eat and drink but I treat the subway like my home no it not my home but I don't put things on floor or nasty I'm a clean person so my trash goes where its suppose to b..my commute is an hr I get up at four just to leave at six and its not just me me son as well...I feel like this throw ur trash away....soon they goin to say don't bring newspapers on train and its goin up and up on there fare wow


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