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Stinking Riders? They're Still Allowed On-board
Wednesday, September 09, 2009 3:53 PM  

Honolulu city bus and skyline

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.

Comments

DominicMazoch said:

Bathing does reduce bio-odors!  Not using fermented drinks helps reduce odors.  But come on!  One can't stay fresh in 100 degree heat wanting for a transfer at Wheeler!

There is also a danger in "The Bus" rules.  Sometimes people produce "bad odors" because of a chemical misbalance, like too much or too little blood sugar.

# September 9, 2009 10:47 PM

don said:

If this ordinance was enforced here Metro would lose about half of its riders. It's too bad that the existing ordinances in Houston are never enforced.

On a positive note, I was at the Heights Transit Center yesterday and most of the pigeon poop has been cleaned up.

# September 10, 2009 5:36 AM

ChloeMireille said:

There's a big difference between someone being a little funky from sweating and someone stinking enough to induce vomiting. The latter is who these ordinances should be targeting.

# September 10, 2009 8:43 AM

Lunk said:

"The bill also would have prohibited spitting, urinating and being intoxicated."  

So since the Bill failed to pass, does that mean you can be intoxicated while spitting and urinating on the bus / train?  WOW!  I would think this would still fall under some type of disorderly conduct law.  But still, pretty interesting in the way it was written.

# September 10, 2009 3:44 PM

Cheryl Lavrinc said:

Eating and drinking not allowed on Metro? Perhaps Metro should tell their drivers. Also would be nice if Metro enforced their ban on drivers using their cell phones while driving. I had one on the 65 texting as we went down Bissonett

# September 12, 2009 10:43 PM

HoustonHater said:

@Cheryl Lavrinc

This isn't Amtrak, Let those drivers do what they want. After all this is metro. Green Fleet lol!!! Going green is nothing unless you're making money off of it.

# September 17, 2009 2:16 AM
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