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MTA Official Mulls Food Ban On Subways Following Recent Food Fights

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) --An MTA board member reportedly floated the idea of banning food and drinks in subway cars after a number of recent videos surfaced showing food fights and vermin on trains.

However, commuters are opposed to the idea.

1010 WINS' John Montone with an MTA worker who says riders can be very messy


Board member Charles Moerdler reportedly floated the idea, which fellow board member Doreen Frasca reportedly called a "swell idea."

The MTA reportedly carts some 90 tons of trash from the subway system each day. The trash is blamed for attracting rats and causing fires.

As of now, the agency encourages riders not to eat or drink on subways or station platforms, but the practice is not illegal.

"From time to time we do run public service campaigns to discourage people from eating on the train. But it's not against the rules," said MTA Spokesman Aaron Donovan.

 "I don't even know how they would enforce that. That's the only thing. There's no way. I eat my breakfast on my way to school every single day here pretty much, right in this bag," said Rudi Hoehn of Harlem.

"People like eating in the train in the morning because they don't have enough time to eat at their houses. You know, we have to either go to school or work like this," said commuter Bernardo Martinez.

In the most recent incident, a brawl on a Brooklyn train started over a teenage girl eating spaghetti from a plastic foam container. The fight begins in earnest after a passenger is heard asking "What kind of animals eat on the train?" She ultimately threw her food at the commuter who made the comment.

A man came between the girl who was eating and the woman who questioned her decision to turn the subway into her dining car. Others took short hops over the spaghetti on the car's floor.

The fight triggered what has grown into a super-sized debate that's reached MTA headquarters over whether it's appropriate to eat or drink on the rails. However, an agency spokesman told CBS 2 the discussions were informal.


The fellow passenger recording the scene could only lament: "Oh man, this is crazy. On my way to work."


WCBS 880's Sean Adams: The Measure Has Some Straphanger Support


Rat On No. 4 Subway
(credit: YouTube)

Subway riders are no strangers to animals. Pigeons, dogs, and rats are all fans of the largest subway system in the country.

Looking down at subway tracks one expects to see vermin scurrying along, but they don't stay there. Sometimes they're found on subway platforms, in subway cars, and even on fellow passengers.

Related: Nina Pajak On Subway Etiquette

Back in January, video uploaded to YouTube showed a rat running down a subway car and climbing onto the seats before climbing up to a sleeping rider's face.


Rat wakes up Homeless man by Eckzavier on YouTube

This isn't the first time the MTA considered restrictions of food in the subway. In 2005, the agency dropped a proposed beverage ban, after riders complained they could be ticketed for having a cup of coffee during their morning commute.

What do you think about eating on the subway? Should it be banned? Leave a comment below…


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