State Senate bill would outlaw food in the subwayBy
Over the past few months, the MTA’s rat problem has drawn headlines as the authority has struggled to clean up its stations and rodents have become comfortable in the confines of the subway. A few State Senators are fighting back now with what promises to be a controversial proposal to ban all food from the subway. Sponsored by Senator Perkins and relying on a constituent survey that laid the blame for subway litter on the shoulders of sloppy straphangers, the bill would carry a fine of up to $250 for those caught eating underground.
The bill, available here, was referred to the Senate Transportation Committee earlier this week. It has the support of Senators Espaillat, Huntley and Oppenheimer as well and would ban the consumption of food on any subway, station or platform under the control of New York City Transit. Any fine collected under the measure would accrue to Transit for use under a New York Subway Littering Prevention Fund which would include the costs of publicizing the measure, among other things.
It’s unclear exactly what the future holds for this bill right now. Banning food would go a long way toward improving cleanliness under ground, but enforcement, of course, would be problematic. Furthermore, the MTA draws some real estate revenue from newsstands and other businesses that sell food in the subway system. As the authority continues to assess its anti-trash can pilot, I’ll keep an eye on this measure as it winds its way through the legislative process. It is definitely not the worst idea to emerge from Albany.