Smokefree DC is a citizen-based group whose goal is to promote smokefree environments in Washington, DC.

New York poised to extend smokefree transit policy – what about DC?

Floral Park Platform

Flickr photo courtesy of petras_t

The New York Legislature has passed a measure that would make train platforms and outdoor areas of the Metro-North and Long Island Railroad smokefree. New York City has already made its platforms smokefree. The bill awaits the governor’s signature.

That raises an interesting issue regarding Washington, D.C., transit. Metrorail property is supposed to be smokefree. That means not only the train platforms but the escalators. However, no signs are posted to tell people that, so smokers often light up on the escalators, which means everyone behind them breathes their smoke. I’ve even seen a Metro employee smoking on an escalator.

Even more boneheaded is the presence of ashtrays at the bottom of many Metro escalators. If you can’t smoke on the escalators, why put ashtrays at the bottom? That sends a signal that people can smoke on their way to catch the train.

As for bus shelters, they aren’t smokefree but should be. Smokefree DC has heard from a number of people who have a choice between huddling in a bus shelter with a smoker or standing in the rain. They should be able to breathe clean air while waiting for the bus. On the flip side, I have seen a number of considerate smokers move away from the shelter to smoke while waiting for the bus. To them, we thank you.

Bottom line: Metro should make its bus shelters smokefree.

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