Stinking Riders? They're Still Allowed On-board
Wednesday, September 09, 2009 3:53 PM
In Honolulu, if you stink and climb on The Bus, the city's trademark yellow and white bus, you won't get kicked off.
A bill introduced last week to ban odors brought onto the transit system "if they unreasonably disturb others" was squashed last Friday by Honolulu's city council.
The city council members who introduced the bill said they believed it was important to address this issue as the city builds its first light-rail line.
Bill 59-09 would not have allowed riders to bring "onto the transit property odors that unreasonably disturb others or interfere with their use of the transit system, whether such odors arise from one's person, clothes, articles, accompanying animal or any other source."
The bill also would have prohibited spitting, urinating and being intoxicated.
Read more here. The graphic above is from the Web site of The Bus in Honolulu.
The local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union weighed in on the matter, arguing the bill is burdensome and too broad.
The Honolulu Police Department expressed concerns that activities subject to citations would be considered criminal activities under the bill - such as eating, listening to music sans headphones and drinking alcoholic beverages.
The police said it would be difficult to enforce the bill, especially the odors issue, which they called somewhat subjective.
Councilman Rod Tam, who co-introduced the bill, said he modeled it after a passenger code of conduct in King County, Washington (Seattle area).
In Houston, it would be hard to enforce an odor ordinance when more than half the year is steamy and sticky.
"We do not have a code of conduct for passengers, as was proposed in the Honolulu scenario," said Tim Kelly, METRO's assistant chief of police.
In the meantime, city ordinances prohibit eating, drinking, and playing audible music on a bus or train. A state law bans smoking on board transit vehicles, said Kelly.
Use common courtesy when on public transit. Click here to read a past blog entry on this.