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Carroll Gardens Residents React to Possible Subway Food Ban

A proposed state bill aims to discourage rats and litter by banning food in subway trains and station.

For years, subway commuters have been cramming in meals on the go underground. But now, if a new state bill is passed, those who deign to ride and dine may face a hefty fine along with their dishes.

Proposed by Senator Bill Perkins, D-Manhattan, the ban on subway eating hopes to discourage rats and litter from stations. A fine of up to $250 would be handed out to straphangers found snacking on any train, platform, or shop throughout the city’s transit system.

Outside of the Carroll Street station on Monday, riders were divided in their feelings toward the bill.

"It's kind of absurd," said Carl Street resident Maria Vergara upon first hearing about the proposed fines. "A lot of people like me go to work and come back, and that's our only chance to eat."

But after considering the effect that litter has on the large rat population, she added, "I hate rats. I despise them. If I went on the train and saw a rat, I would never go on the train again. I guess I can kind of see what they are saying. I just think there should be more trash cans available inside of the train and on platforms."

City officials apparently feel differently, as this proposal comes months after the in an effort to cut down on subway littering.

A Henry Street resident who preferred to be identified by only her initials was more determined in defending the rights of eating passengers. "I think [a ban] is kind of crazy," B.R. said. "That seems like a lot of money and people should be allowed to eat on the subway. A regular fine for littering, maybe. But not just for eating."

Upstairs at , a cashier who wished to remain anonymous admitted that many morning commuters grab a coffee and a bagel there before heading to the trains. "There are good and bad sides to a ban," she said quietly. "Everybody needs to eat but nobody likes a mess left behind."

With that, two customers exited the cafe and began their descent underground—smoothies in hand.

How do you feel about the proposed bill?.

tim maguire January 31, 2012 at 05:36 PM
If I were to make a list of the problems with my morning commute, that list would have to get quite long before "people eating" made the cut. How about dingbat politicians let the MTA focus on providing basic reliable service. Then, after that, maybe start wasting resources on imaginary problems.

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