Stories produced by St. Peter's Journalism Students
BY CHELCI BIDOS
Imagine you are sitting at your kitchen table on a Wednesday morning. Your mother has made you some warm pancakes and bacon and poured you a large glass of orange juice to enjoy before you head out to start your day. Now imagine for a second the thousands of commuters that do not get that same opportunity because they are running to catch the train, instead of enjoying their breakfast at home.
Hundreds of thousands of commuters may have to change how they eat their breakfast because of a new subway food ban.
A new bill proposed by Senator Bill Perkins would prohibit subway riders from eating on the subway and those commuters who choose to eat will be slammed with a $250 fine. Perkins believes that prohibiting eating on the subway would help to alleviate the litter and rat problem within the subway system. But in a city where residents rely on the subway and often do not have enough time to eat, this proposed bill might cause more controversy than agreement.
Maria De La Cruz a commuter from midtown Manhattan commutes to Newark every day. Her breakfast usually consists of a Red Bull, and some sort of energy bar.
“I only have enough time to eat something very small, so I have to make sure that whatever it is, it is something that will allow me to keep running practically all day and the only real time that I have to eat that is on the train in the morning.” she said.
Cruz said that while she understands that this ban could help in making public transportation a cleaner and more enjoyable experience, it would not be fair to all the people who have no time to eat breakfast at home.
“I’m incredibly disappointed because New York and New Jersey are huge commuter hubs and legislators should know that eating on the trains or the buses is a way of life for most of us. We don’t enjoy doing it but we have to. What they should focus their attention on is not the eating, but the disposal part of the situation.”
Kristy Thomas, a commuter from Staten Island, who not only takes the ferry and the train to get to her school, but the bus to get to her job in uptown Manhattan, thinks that this ban is ridiculous.
“I think that this is one of the dumbest ideas our city has come up with. Every time there is a problem, the first thing that the city tries to do is limit us from doing something,” she said. “I think that instead of trying to ban thousands of people from eating on the subway when that is the only time they can be somewhat comfortable, they should focus their time on coming up with ways to get people not to litter. What about putting garbage cans on the train?”
While Cruz and Thomas feel that this proposed ban would only make commuters lives more difficult, Timothy Caruso feels differently.
“I do feel bad that so may commuters do not get the opportunity to eat a healthy breakfast, let alone a breakfast at all, but the litter problem is a really big one,” he said. “It sucks when you have to get on a train and there is garbage all over the seats and spilt mystery liquid on the floor. I think this ban could potentially be a good thing.”
While Caruso feels that this ban could help to solve the subway litter problem, he does sympathize with commuters.
“Hopefully, the city can come up with a solution to this problem that everyone can be in agreement with. Not only for those commuters who have to eat there breakfast on the train but for those of us who may just want to munch on a snack.”