TTC ban food eating

Should the TTC ban eating on its vehicles?

After a YouTube video of an altercation on the the New York subway over a passenger eating spaghetti went viral, the Metro Transit Authority (MTA) has made a few rumblings about the possibility of banning food in the system. It doesn't look like those ideas are going anywhere, but proponents argue that food and subways just don't mix. Not only is there the issue of inter-rider anger, but organic garbage that doesn't make it to the bins is the stuff of dreams for mice and rats (the latter of which is quite the problem in NYC).

So what about the TTC? When we polled readers a few month ago about what passenger behaviour they found most annoying, smelly food didn't rank particularly high (less than three per cent of the vote). But, then again, there were so many other gripes on the list, I'm not sure if that exercise told us much about what people think of eating on the TTC.

It's noteworthy that the Commission did in fact try to ban the consumption of food on its vehicles many years ago, but as TTC spokesperson Brad Ross explained to me in an email, it ultimately pulled the plug when "a complaint was filed with the Ontario Municipal Board, as there are people, for example diabetics, who do require food at various times to maintain blood-sugar levels."

Believing it would be difficult to manage the exceptions to rule, the TTC opted not to pursue the issue. So I suppose the question becomes, was that the best course of action? Some passengers would need to be exempted, but one wonders if it would really pose that much of a challenge to implement a set of rules in which takes this into account.

What do you think? Do other people eating and drinking on TTC vehicles bother you? Are you sick of Coke cans that tirelessly roll back and forth on the subway floor? Is it worth making an effort to keep this to a minimum? Let's add this to the list of issues that newly appointed Chief Customer Service Officer Chris Upfold has to consider.

Update:

Brad Ross brought up a good point in a conversation about why the TTC didn't (and doesn't) want to pursue a ban: "To make exceptions and/or exemptions for those who do need to eat, the concern, at the time, was one of stigmatizing those people. In general, we hope people are considerate of others and, of course, use the garbage receptacles that are on every platform, elsewhere in the stations, and on almost every street corner. There's really no excuse for littering."


Photo by neuroticjose on Flickr.


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