N.Y. Lawmaker Wants Fines For Straphangers Who Eat On The Subway

State Sen. Bill Perkins Says Complaints About Rodents Led To $250 Fine Idea

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A local lawmaker want to clamp down on eating on the subway with fines.

In one viral video, a woman told another who was eating spaghetti on the subway, “animals eat on the train,” and got a face full of pasta in response. That encounter helped ignite a debate over food in the subway.

A ban was proposed but never passed, but where the MTA couldn’t get it done, State Sen. Bill Perkins plans to propose a $250 fine.

Perkins said riders are always complaining to him about rodents.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reports 

“Those rats feed off of what we eat or discard in the system. You feed them, you breed them,” he told CBS 2’s Ann Mercogliano. “Not only are they on the tracks, they’re on the seats. Sometimes they even come off out of the subway.”

“If you look in the subway on track, you’ll see them eating pizza,” he told 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon.

For busy subway riders, taking away their food on the subway is like taking away their MetroCards.

“I don’t think that would work,” said Kiley Olsen of the Lower East Side, munching on a bagel. “I would still eat on the train.”

One straphanger wouldn’t mind a ban, and said having a meal on your way to work is just plain rude.

“Definitely eating a meal on the subway, that’s a little obnoxious,” said Michael Friedman of the Upper East Side.

Riders aren’t so sure that such a proposal could be enforced.

“It’s like, some of people’s only free time is to like be on the train to eat,” said Olsen.

The MTA said it studying the new proposal.

Please leave a comment below…

  • Sophia

    I have just two words for this idiot: Get Real

  • Jim

    Democrats have never seen a tax they did not like or a law that limits freedom that they do not support. Since New York is predominately democrat, I support this law, hopefully it helps to drive home how quickly government can and will control control your life and limit your freedoms.

  • Robert Moses

    Just shut down the subway system. Get rid of the buses, too. Everybody knows that REAL Americans drive everywhere.

  • James Oliver

    I want a 50% tax on every meal served at these politicians high priced resturant over 40 dollars. We need to tax the wealthy somehow

  • quote from an article here on mar 24th

    i just went back and re-read this article….you might remember it being the one about the woman eating spaghetti/lo mein….
    i’m just posting here so people will see what the MTA’s position on eating on the subway is. I am personally opposed to the MTA’s position and think they should enforce a no eating policy just as they enforce a “no smoking, no drinking, no urinating or defecating on the subway” policy. I feel this way. Why isn’t it against the rules to eat on the subway? This is public transportation not your kitchen, bathroom, nightclub or bedroom. Why can’t you find the time to eat at home? Do you use the subway to relieve yourself too? Do you sleep on the trains? Do you smoke and drink on the trains? Do you live on the trains? Why can’t you just ride the train like the majority of the people do every single day and not bring your personal business with you and try to defend it by saying you don’t have enough time to eat or whatever other thing you do besides ride the train. get over yourself, you’re not that important. get up 10 minutes early and get yourself together and eat at home.

    “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.

    • UUUnicorn

      When I was working 12 to 16 hours a day five days a week and whenever I was lucky enough to get a seat, yes, I did sleep in the subway train. My commute each way between home and work, when weather conditions were okay, was an hour and fifteen minutes. Again, that’s when weather conditions were OKAY.

      This job was stressful, too–high volume of work, tight deadlines/turnaround–it was so bad, that I didn’t get enough sleep during the week. So, by the weekend, I’d be dragging myself around feeling near-dead.

  • I See Stupid People...

    Doh! How Ironic… I spelled people wrong in “I See Stupid Peopel”

  • I See Stupid Peopel

    I’d rather have to endure a rat-infested subway than a world of narrowminded, rude, ignorant, people!

    Don’t punish EVERYONE just because a few people are dumb. Go to a restaurant and see how MESSY people leave the table; there is more food and debris under the table than on it. These are the people on the subway who are just plain lazy and dumb.

    We need to start punishing people individually and not as a society. Don’t limit me on what I can do just because the person next to me is an idiot. I recycle. I pick up my trash. Sometimes I pick of trash not belonging to me simply because I care.

    Not eating on a subway isn’t going to cure your rat problem. You kill off one predator and animals are going to populate. Equal out your ecosystem and mother nature will take care of itself.

    Actually, earlier this morning I read an article about burmese pythons taking over Florida. How about dump a few of those in the subway to take care of the “huge” rat problem and maybe some idiots who are clogging the shallow end of the gene pool…

  • Crystal

    Eating on the train is obnoxious, rude, smelly, disgusting, and filthy. Unfortunately, even if a ban or bill is passed, it won’t be enforced. See how well MTA enforces the law on other things, such as sexual harrassment, theft, etc.

  • Hangtownie

    Ever read the book King Rat? I say figure out a way to make rat meat tasty and you have a win, win situation. Go ahead and eat on the train,attract the rats, then enjoy them in your breakfast burrito in the morning!

  • Wastrel

    “I don’t think that would work,” said Kiley Olsen of the Lower East Side, munching on a bagel. “I would still eat on the train.”

    Exactly. Innumerable laws already exist that try to regulate behavior on the basis of opinion and no evidence, or simply because someone complains. This merely creates disrespect for the good laws.

  • Teresa

    Poison kills rats. Give it a try! Then people can freely eat wherever they choose. Maybe New York Politicians should try to focus on the infestation at Zucotti Park instead.

    • Oh Well,

      Teresa, MTA puts out rat poison on a regular basis. Well, they used to anyway. Signs are everywhere warning people about rat poisoning on the platforms and in the tubes. But it probably got cut as a cost saving measure when rates were raised and people were fired.

  • Dave

    Senator Bill Perkins one of the major reasons why NY state and city are falling apart.Bill get to work on solving the real problems in this state.

  • Tom Menino

    To paraphrase George Carlin: “Eating on the train is a $250 fine. But puking is free!”

  • gjk

    i say let’s put it to a vote. All who want to eat on the subway give me a thumbs up. All against, thumbs down.

    Opps, wrong format. Oh well, another easy solution shot down too soon.

  • mixplix

    Hard to believe but there are 10,000 staff members that work for our Congressman and 2000 of them make $174,000+ a year. !5 members is the limit for each Congressman. When you hear the I, I, I, of a Congressman’s speech, remember he has a staff that does the grunt work and at times knows very little about what he/she is talking about.

  • Matthew Dunnyveg

    Just a $250 fine? Why not seize all the assets of these criminal scoundrels? After all, who can spend the money better, the people it rightfully belongs to or the government? Then, after all their assets are seized, they can be put on death row.

    Who said communism died in 1991?

    • Communism is not dead

      “Who said communism died in 1991?”
      Um…no one…communism still exists in 5 countries…Cuba, China, Vietnam, North Korea and Laos

  • Diego Roswell

    Don’t bother arresting the muggers or rapists, pick pockets, vandals, homeless, gropers, bullies, rude filth that ride public transportation, but make sure you arrest and fine people that need to eat. I pity anyone that still has to travel to NYC.

    • Simeon Namore

      Yeah, but they can’t find the muggers or the rapists, the vandals, gropers or the pickpockets. Why? Because they’re not looking, that’s why. Grab the guy with the candy bar–he’s an easy touch.

  • Daniel Morgan

    This idiot Senator has probably embezzled enough public funds and benefits that he doesn’t have to ride the subway. To hell with the average working person who is busy paying taxes to support bums like him.

  • monkeys


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