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 subway MTA Official Mulls Food Ban On Subways Following Recent Food Fights

(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.


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…

More from John Montone
  • nancyeliz

    I’ve had the train to stop short and a man lost his balance and coffie (hot) was tossed in my face. Guess what, he had the nerve to be angry because I spoke to him about the problem. Go figure


  • bronxie

    Yes, the subway cars are not DINING CARS – I’ve seen ppl eat their food, finish and then trash the garbage underneath their seat. This is probably what they do at home – slobs! Where are the transit police to issue tickets, isn’t this a violation of subway rules which were once posted on the trains? A good way to get revenue for the city Mr Bloomberg! Keep posting those slobs on u-tube . . .

  • Viper

    I’m tired of getting into a subway car and smelling nasty vinegar infused fried chicken or some other foul food when all i’m trying to do is get from point A to point B. Sometimes i feel like puking because of the food smell–especially after a hangover. The subway car is used by many and “hungry” riders should be more considerate. That said, there are many more homeless people who stink of urine then there are passengers eating. The MTA needs to invest more of its resources at taking the homeless off the trains then they do @ attacking hungry commuters.

    • Sarah

      Thank you! The homeless smell in the subways and the stations is a bigger issue to me! I only see rats on the tracks, so that is not bothering me and that is still not often.
      However, banning beverages is a little harsh. They don’t usually emit some nasty aroma, as TUNA FISH does (someone was eating it on the bus this morning).
      Also, for pregnant women and those with medical issues that require a snack, they should not be punished for some crackers or chips, something hand-held and easy to eat. I understand a meal requiring forks, knives, spoons, etc. should be looked in to.
      On another note, how much will our fares go up to hire people to enforce these rules if they go through!

  • Larry Schwarz

    Candy,drinks and snacks are sold at concession stands within the subway system..Banning bottled water would be cruel.Allow some foods such as candy and drinks if they have lids.Ban full course meals.

    • HUGO

      Why can’t you eat at home Larry? Do you really need to scarf down a snickers bar on the subway? It’s disgusting.

  • Christopher

    My personal policy is, I don’t drink anything on the train unless it has a re-closeable cap, and I don’t eat anything on the train that’s more complicated than a candy bar. I honestly wouldn’t even mind that people eat on the train, except for the fact that it’s just too d*** crowded for that during rush hour, and the fact that so many just throw their trash on the floor when they’re done . If you brought it onto the train, take it off the train when you leave! Once watched a guy eating chicken wings (really? chicken wings on the subway?) and throwing the bones on the floor as if it were the most natural thing in the world. It’s inconsiderate, rude, and just makes the subway dirtier than it has to be.

    Having said that, here’s my next question. WHAT freakin restaurant serves spaghetti for breakfast?!

  • Richard

    Buses are just as bad theres coffee cups an water bottles on the floor. Theres also McDonalds hamburger wrappers to. They should also ban cell phones people speak loudly an use profanity even with young children on the bus its very annoying.



    • Richard

      Its jerks like you that shouldnt be allowed on trains an buses.

    • george

      LOL!!! That made my day!

  • J

    Let the city use their low functioning WEP workers. That what we pay for!

  • Patrick

    Absolutely ban food and drinks on the MTA!!
    I’ve been saying it for years.
    Others do not need to be subject to the smells, noises, and the inevitable garbage left behind.
    Hey MTA…instead of raising the fares again, how but enforcing this as a rule and you’ll save everyone money by less clean up expenses.

  • Debbie

    Yes, ban food and drinks…my daughter rides the Metro in DC and its clean!! you aren’t even allowed to have a coffee cup with you on the get a fine…they are very good at policing this!! nYC should follow suit

  • michael

    Why would you eat food on a dirty train? Its not just foul, its nasty! And we all know who the biggest culprits are; the outer borough under 25 crowd.

    Train etiquette should be required on the first day of school to remind this idiotic high school kids the basics, like remove your big-ass backpack beofre you get onto the train, move to the middle, dont play music, dont eat on the train, and dont throw your trash on the train. Anyone under 18 who is caught should get 6 months of community service, which would consist of cleaning the trains and platforms.

    These kids dont have fathers, so they need to be taught some basic manners and discipline before I have to pay 75k a year putting them up in prison.

    The woman was right. That girl was an animal.


    Hmmmm…Though i think eating on the train sounds kinda gross with germs everywhere…I do empathize that some people eat on the train because they literally “eat & run”. I don’t think anyone ideally wants to eat on the train. but oh well.

  • F!@#$ MTA

    MTA need to banned itself all they do is steal our money , service sucks and all the garbage is part of the cuts they made. MTA how about trying to clean all the rats in the subway and all these delays for no dam reason. while MTA workers sit and sleep all day long doing nothing How about the MTA chariman cut some of his salary ? MTA you suck

  • F!@#$ MTA

    MTA need to banned itself all they do is steal our money , service sucks and all the garbage is part of the cuts they made. MTA how about trying to clean all the rats in the subway and all these delays for no dam reason. while MTA workers sit and sleep all day long doing nothing How about the MTA chariman cut some of his salary ? MTA you suck

    • Donnatella Nutella Soleil-Moon Frye

      What does F!@#$ stand for? Five letters, begins with F. I am no Sajak, so please explain?

  • peapod

    McDonald’s and take out food smell so bad on the trains. It’s bad enough now the warmer weather is coming and we have to worry about being armpit level with the ones who don’t shower or use deodorant.

    The trains smell so bad and really are very dirty. I can’t imagine who could even think of eating a meal on them. So Gross.

    • Shemp Howard


      Don’t forget bum-stank!

  • Diane

    I’m for the ban. One night going home to Queens on the N train, I had a girl two seats away from me eating McDonalds and another across from me eating sliders and waffle fries.

    The smell from the two different meals was gross. Even coffee is annoying – I had a woman the other day put her container down on the seat and then it spilled when the train stopped short. She was so surprised – WHY? I can’t imagine. I had to give up my seat as her Dunkin Donuts coffee spilled down the length of the seat. Stupid idiot.

    And as others have pointed out, too many people leave their trash behind. Do you do that at home? Who do you think is supposed to clean up after you?

    This is a good idea, but they’ll never be able to enforce it. Too bad.

    • William Frawley


      I like the cut of your jib, young lady.

  • Think

    we should ban people with bad manners

  • joey05301

    This is very interesting. The PATH trains ban eating and drinking on all their trains and there are no garbage cans whatsoever in any of their train stations — yet all their trains and stations are a lot cleaner than any of the NYC subway stations I’ve ever seen.

  • Dave

    Love how one incident happens, and someone yells “BAN! BAN!”

    Ban everything! Why not just ban life??

    The subway has had people eating on it for decades. There are downsides, and upsides, to that. But not everything that might lead to a couple of incidents needs to be BANNED. Ban means tickets/bylaws. Seriously…ticketing someone for coffee? Or for a slice of pizza? Or a candy bar? Has it come to this?

    • Don Williams

      Yes it has. Who said that eating on trains should be allowed in the first place.

  • Mike

    i have seen people throwing nut shells of both sunflower and peanuts while they were eating as well as a woman pealing and eating a hardboiled egg on the subway (which smelled terrible) and they all left most of the coverings on the floor for the next person to step on or smell.

    if you cant eat where you are going, and you cant eat where youve been, dont eat. youre all too fat to begin with

  • J

    Who wants to be in a confined place watching and listening to someone slurp food down. It’s rude and disgusting. No eating on the subway.

  • patrolman 77th pct.

    someone eating on the train is the LEAST of anyones worries while riding that rat-trap of a transportation system.

  • Rory Calhoun


    • BigEz

      Rory – how about getting up a bit earlier??

      • Rory Calhoun


    • Tony Broccoli


      No one cares about your fancy “all-caps” ranting! Go back to the hills of West Virginny, ya hump!

      • Rory Calhoun


  • jane

    leave it to the idiots at the MTA to let the bad behavior of some stupid people affect everyone else? what if ur hypoglycemic or diabetic and need food?

    maybe the MTA should give lessons on manners instead?

  • Johnny Complaint

    While we’re at it, can we ban fat out of shape slobs from the subway? I’d like to walk up the stairs with out a face full of wide-@ss.

  • Anna

    They need to put more damned trash cans on the platforms!! It wouldn’t be so terrible. There is what.. one, two trash cans..always overflowing, on every platform? More trash cans please, that would help a little bit MTA..just sayin :P

  • frankie munoz

    Subway should ban food. Have you ever had their meatball sub? ugh!

  • Jimmy

    I thought it was already illegal but if it isn’t she probably should have left her alone to eat.

  • Donnatella Soleil

    Oh get off your high horses already. The people doing the most complaining are most likely doing the very same thing. First of all there aren’t that many police officers riding the train who could arrest that many people. And what if the smells of food are wafting through the subway car while in the bag and you’re not eating? Are you going to complain about that as well? Bunch of whining cry babies. What next arrest mom if she give her baby a bottle on the subway? Ban babies from the subway altogether? Just keep the train car clean, keep your mouth shut and get to your destination alive. <3

    • joe smoothie

      YES babies and them damn strollers I am all for that and Please ban anyone chewing gum hate the snapping

  • Moral Truth

    no eating and thats the moral truth?

    • J

      The moral truth is you pay for service, and non-service is not being allowed to eat, and I’m not saying a 6 course meal, I’m saying within reason.

      • Donnatella Soleil

        Cupcake gonna get me prison time. I’ll just write a song about it. :) Become rich as hell and buy a car. :P

  • midi-man

    Here is one that needs addressing Bloomberg people have no social etiquette, Cut more teachers this will help. You should force social etiquette 101 in schools.

    I guess that wold make sense since you are so worried about smoking and everything else except the good working peoples quality of life in this city.

  • Gregg

    This seems like a no brainer ! No eating food on the subway ! Soooo gross ! Our subways are gross enough from peoples germs etc.

  • J Citozen

    then ban eating on lirr and metro north as well

    the supposed clean train campaign on the lirr -one ride to hicksville that announcment was made -looked under a seat and saw an empty six pack
    and sandwich and potato chips everywhere

  • Mike

    I would love to see food and drink ban from the Subways. Its about time.

  • Capt Lou

    This should have been nipped in the bud after the terrible 60’s & 70’s when graffiti gangs ruled the subways, and the NYC transit system was the laughing stock of the nation, if not the world.

  • DC Metro Rider

    The food ban works fine here in DC. You cannot eat on the platform or on the train and other than a few overzealous enforcement actions over the years the rule seems to have worked out fine.

    I ride both the DC and NYC systems fairly frequently and I must say, not having to sit and watch (smell) someone eating during my trip makes for a much more pleasant journey.

  • dottie

    OH POLLLLEEEEEEZ, just because the white fat whale that got a beat down for antagonizing the two ghetto fabulous girls eating…this is a free country, and you live in NEW YORK, hellllooooo, this is not a police state! Some people don’t have time to eat unless they eat on the run…maybe we should be focusing on more important things…like robbery, rape, abuse of children, then spend money and time worrying about what people eat…get a life!

    • dp

      Your comments are racist…you need to get a life and go back to school.

    • commuter

      Oh Dottie, may you ckoke on a chicken bone the next time you feel free to eat on a subway.

    • Donnatella Soleil

      I’ve seen the young lady many times on the train eating. I figure maybe thats the only time she has to eat her meals. If they don’t want people to eat on the train they should shut down each and every food concession stand down in places like 34th Street, Grand Central Station, etc. If the train isn’t crowded it doesn’t bother me personally but at rush hour keep your food in the bag til you reach your destination.
      But like I said maybe thats the only time she has. Another thing is leaving behind your trash which attracts rats and other creepy crawlies. There is no reason to be rude or disrespectful because someone is eating unless you’re dropping food on them. Personally if it were me I would have just move to another seat and let that crazy lady talk all she wanted. This is NYC after all. Sometimes we NY’s have to eat on the run. <3

  • Aceof Spades

    Please subway cleaning crews are lazy anyway. They just board the train and sit down during the summer and winter. they clean nothing. Theres no reason why there should be garbage one stop after the first stop.

  • signalhelper

    Haven’t anyone noticed there are less people cleaning the subways because Tom Prendergast wants to save his managers. The line managers are gone because people were able to call them and complain.

  • vy

    Ban on eating?
    Ban on drinking NON intoxicating beverages, NO WAY !!!
    They drink and eat on the LIRR and Metrop North (some Metro North trains even have open sales bar cars.
    Any ban should be for ALL MTA riders, not singling out subway riders.
    Also, banning non toxic drinks in the warmer weather, when the subway platforms can get to 120 degrees F, can be dangerous.
    Non toxic drinks should never be banned from the subway.
    Can you immagine waiting during a delay without water?
    NO WAY!

    • Jimmy

      Yes, the problem is much worse on the LIRR.

  • Bill Bell

    The subway animals eat 6 course meals on the train. Only a low life would feel okay eating a meal in the germ infested and crowded subway. Low Life meals of choice-Chinese in a styrofoam container, smelly jerk chicken, fried chicken and of course McDonalds.


    • HUGO

      I once watched a savage eat a quart of lo mein on a crowded 6 train during rush hour. Absolutely shameless and disgusting.

  • CSI

    Oh please. Rats are going to be in the subways and sewers anyway. Thats where they live and hide. If people don’t bring food down and throw it on the ground it will drop from the street through the grates on the ground or rats will find it from above and bring it down anyway. Cant stop the rats from breading and eating. It’s going to happen. Plus if you keep them away from the subway they will surface and take the streets for food. Then what ban food from being eaten outside as well. It also doesn’t help that the outside food vendors throw there food water down on the streets.

  • kenny

    I’m not the who will be name calling but blacks are not the only ones that eat or drink on the train. I ride the mta and the llrr and i think both blacks and whites ride the trains. If you ride the llrr they have thieir share of garbage too. They eat sandwiches, salads, drink coffee and let’s not forget they drink beers too. So BOB white have no social etiquette . They stand over you with i cup of coffee and newspaper in one hand try to hold on the pole with the other OH i alomost forgot and still trying to drink that damm cup of coffee. I can go but i have to make a living.

    • Donnatella Soleil

      Drop that coffee on me and you’ll be spending the night in ER. And no I don’t care if I have to spend a night in jail. I would be out before supper time…and supper isn’t on the train. :P But what you said is true…Blacks are not the only people riding in the dining car. And where is the MTA cleaning crew? Shouldn’t they be keeping the subways and cars clean for those of us paying $2.25 to ride in the hell hole?
      Pizza anyone? <3

  • Cab

    Good move MTA and Police they need to get involve to crackdown all the train riders and the station as well. Passengers should not allow to eat or drink anything on the platforms and inside the trains and buses Especially School kids like junk foods for example McDonalds,Chinese foods Chicken wings French fries,Heroes sandwiches,Chips sodas,juices and sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds They should be fine for littering the subways hefty penalties that why we having rats running around the subways.And Adults as well likes pigs and don’t have a bag to put their food garbage and put it to the trash cans whey they leave the stations.

    • CSI

      What about carrots?

  • Scott Bennett

    The MTA will approve the ban so they can collect more money from tickets. The police on the MTA are tax collectors and this will be another tax. I saw a man get a ticket for switching cars through the interior doors on a train while the train was stopped in a station. Cheap shot by the police. Had nothing to do with safety and everything to do with revenue.

  • rick

    Good idea which I’m sure all the food vendors in the subways will not like!

    • Bob

      Most normal people eat there food BEFORE they get on the subway. Most people that eat on the subway DID NOT buy the food from the subway vendors. They are animals with no respect for anyone else.

  • victor

    the new york subways are rat infested anyway,,hunan rats that are filthy, drugies, murderers, wanabes gangs, muggers and any rifraf the city produces in quantitys unlimitted. most are black, as they don`t have anything better to do,,unedecuated and illeterate.

    • Michael H.

      why don’t you tell us how you really feel…

    • badman

      looks like you nearly qualify for that illiterate brand, Vic. Yknow what? you’re low-life riff-raff human garbage to me. It’s all relative, I guess.

    • Christopher

      In the future, it is advisable to learn how to spell the word ‘illiterate’ before trying to use it to insult someone else…

  • Bob

    Let’s be honest. It has nothing to do with the rats or garbage. It has everything to do with the lowlifes that have no social etiquette. These animals think nothing of taking out a tuna fish sandwich, or bag of fried chicken, or whatever else and eating like they are in a restaurant. They are pigs.

    • BigEz

      @ Bob – you hit the nail on the head.

  • RabidSquirrel

    What, no more spaghetti?!

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