Food, drinks banned on buses in Gatineau

Thanks to a policy banning food or drink on STO buses, riders on the other side of the river don’t deal with an array of pop cans and burger wrappers left on seats.

“It’s not a problem,” said Societe de transport de l’Outaouais spokeswoman Dominique Leclerc.

“Mostly, we find a cup of coffee. That’s the thing we find the most.”

Are our neighbours to the north more civilized?

OC Transpo rider Glen Basque raised the issue of passengers trashing buses with food, beverages, and newspapers.

Passengers “by and large are well-behaved, but there are incredible exceptions and it does not matter the time of day, the age and sex of the average rider — when you have pigs on the bus, you know it,” said Basque.

“Hey, I paid my fare, so yeah, this is my trash bin. That’s the attitude people generally take and it sucks, big time.”

When the story ran in Monday’s Sun, “I read the copy I got from the 95 — neatly tucked atop a radiator,” said Basque.

“Oh well, it was neatly folded.”

In Ottawa, the transit bylaw prohibiting litter on buses garners a $125 fine.

When it comes to handing out infractions for trash, though, “it never happens,” a Transpo source told the Sun.

An estimated 400,000 passengers ride Transpo daily.

Drivers often end up cleaning up after them.

In Gatineau, that simply doesn’t happen.

STO handles a fraction of Transpo’s volume: 60,000 passenger trips each day, with 30,000 travelling during peak periods.

With 434 drivers, 302 buses, and 65 routes, STO services a population of 262,391.

Since 1996, “on buses of the Societe, no person shall: Eat or drink, or have an open container with beverages or food,” reads section 18 of bylaw 100.

“But if someone has food or drink but it’s not open, it’s fine,” said Leclerc.

If someone tries to board, drivers explain the policy, she said, adding buses also have pictograms to illustrate the bylaw.

Free commuter papers, though, keep seats warm.

They’re found “a little bit more” than food, said Leclerc.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

@ottawasunkroche

http://www.ottawasun.com/2012/09/26/food-drinks-banned-on-buses-in-gatineau

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