Monday, June 8, 2009

Should OC Transpo impose a food and drink ban?

According to reports in the Ottawa Sun, hygiene of the city's buses has been identified as an issue to be addressed by OC Transpo brass, and a potential food ban has been mulled to go over the issue. Alain Mercier, general manager of the transit utility, suggested that a possible ban would bring Ottawa in line with most other cities (who, Mercier suggested, have similar bans) and would also reduce costs surrounding the maintenance and cleaning of the fleet.

Would a food and drink ban be practical, though? For some commuters, their ride is a long one; bus users taking a 40-minute ride would not likely appreciate restrictions on their morning coffee or snack on the bus. Also, if the onus would fall on bus operators to uphold the ban, we're simply giving these individuals another possible distraction.

In my experience, though, Ottawa buses have a much greater problem than food and drink wrappers on buses: Discarded dailies, such as Metro and 24 Hours, are often left behind on a seat, and then find their way to the ground of the bus. If OC Transpo wants to get the buses really cleaned up, they'll have to find some way to prevent these newspapers being left behind.


dzuunmod said...

I rather like David Reevely's take on it.

"For crying out loud, the transit system is not run for the convenience of its staff. If the buses are dirty, clean them."

Anonymous said...

The giveaway newspapers are a much bigger cause of disorder on the vehicles. I recall many years ago that each time a bus hit its end of route time stop, the driver would take a broom and sweep the bus. I think this engenders greater employee pride in their vehicle and keeps the buses cleaner longer which reduces new debris since dirty buses attract more debris.

Eric Darwin

Anonymous said...

Seems like it just needs to be ingrained into the system. Peter, here in HK it is severely frowned upon to eat, drink or leave your free daily behind on the bus/train/ferry etc. Actually on one of the ferry lines they have a bin where people discard magazines and papers and then if you want something to read, you get it from there.


Unknown said...

I think most workers a responsible to keep their work environment tidy. You still need cleaners, but leaving the bus in good shape for the next driver seems reasonable. Are police officers expected to tidy up?

Maybe it would help if they put better trash receptacles on the bus. That 2 litre bucket they usually have is lacking. I would think most drivers would have no real problem with dumping a proper receptacle from time to time.

Of course having more people realize the floor is not a trash can would help a lot. Do they have a system now where custodial staff will do a quick clean up during the workday? Airlines have shown a cleaner can do quite a bit in a short amount of time.

WJM said...

While they're at it, will they ban drivers from smoking on the bus?

John said...

Personally, I don't think the receptacles provided are big enough.
This puts the onus on passengers to tidy up after themselves. I'm not a litter bug I take my litter with me and dispose/recycle when I get home.