Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Food etiquette on public transit: How far is too far?

In Ottawa, people are allowed food and drinks on the bus. A ban has been suggested, but I haven't really had or heard of problems about people eating on the bus--I think people realize that there is a line that can be drawn, and that excessively odorous or messy food just doesn't work on OC Transpo--not for you (you'll get it all over yourself) nor for your fellow riders.

Well, in New York City subways, things aren't quite set in stone. A couple weeks ago a video surfaced of a young woman eating spaghetti on the subway, and things went downhill from there. Someone gave her a hard time, she and an acquaintance shot back, and then... well, then I lost all hope for humanity things got out of control. Check out the video below, via Honkin' Mad.

(It gets really crazy--like, seriously, just pure nutty--around the 2:00 mark.)

So I ask readers out there: Where do you draw the line with eating on public transit? Is it ever okay?


Anonymous said...

Public Transit has become a showcase for all the bad habits that humans can exhibit - from horrid BO & smoke odours to obnoxiously loud cell conversations. If they continue to allow food, the current foul situation will get worse.

It is bad enough that passengers cannot seem to tell the difference between a restaurant table and a bus seat now. It will become inevitable that the sandwich wrappers, soup bowls and coffee cups that we see now to morph into full-blown styrofoam dinner plates - complete with dessert and beer glasses!

Disallow all food and enforce the rules that already exist too.

Anonymous said...

I don't have an issue with allowing food or drink on the bus. I've been guilty of noshing down a granola bar or an apple on the bus. Trust me, when I am starving, it makes me a much less grumpy passenger to the benefit of all around me. But it is each passenger's responsibility to be respectful and mindful of your garbage and manners. I'd never attempt to eat a plate of spaghetti on the bus but perhaps that is just me (and the likeliness that it would end up all over my shirt, the way some Transitway busses go).

RTWAP said...

I don't see why people who eat their food carefully should be penalized for the occasional idiot who can't behave.

There should be rules about litter. There should be rules about drinks being travel-worthy (closeable or small openings). There could be rules about foods with very strong odours. And no one should expect extra room just because they're trying to eat.

SEA said...

I'm of two minds about this. Yes, it's friggin annoying when you're starving at the end of the work day and there's someone eating McDonald's next to you on the bus, but that's part of using public transit. You have to be willing to put up with smells and behaviours you probably would not tolerate in your own living room.

On the other hand, there are some people out there with serious food allergies that can be triggered by smell alone. So what do we do? Forbid bananas and allow McDonald's? Obviously the easiest way to resolve the dilemma is to ban ALL food on the buses, but it does seem a little over-the-top.