Tobacco Policy Survey

Capital Metro wants you to give us feedback and your thoughts on whether or not we should make the boarding areas of transit facilities including MetroRail stations, transit centers, and park & rides tobacco free. We are taking public comment through this survey.  The survey will be available June 28 through July 11. It takes about two minutes to complete.

 The results of the survey will be given to the Board of Directors at their July 26 meeting when they consider adopting the policy.

If adopted, the policy would be phased in over several months: MetroRail station platforms would become tobacco free Sept. 1, 2010, and boarding areas of transit centers and park & rides would become tobacco free Jan. 1, 2011.

The proposed policy also expresses our support of prohibiting tobacco use at all 3,000-plus bus stops as a longer term goal to be explored with the City of Austin. If enacted, we will join more than 100 other transit systems that are smoke-free to protect their customers and employees.

“Riding transit promotes walking and is therefore part of a healthier lifestyle. Capital Metro wants to reduce secondhand smoke so our riders and employees can get the full health benefits of riding transit,” said Doug Allen, Capital Metro Interim President/CEO.

The full press release about this is here.  

 About me: I am a college student from Missouri interning with Capital Metro for the summer. I ride the 171 Oak Hill Flyer and either the Red Line or the 17 Cesar Chavez to get to work, and enjoy reading on the bus instead of fighting the Austin I-35 traffic. I am passionate about rail transit, and have four generations of railroading in my family. In my travels with Capital Metro, I have not come across many smokers, but when I have, I endeavor to stay upwind of them. I personally do not smoke and appreciate the cleaner air of non-smoking areas.

What are your thoughts about Capital Metro going tobacco free?

12 thoughts on “Tobacco Policy Survey

  1. Kelly

    Hopefully people will follow the rules, my transit system is smoke free but nobody including some drivers and a supervisor obey the law.

  2. Don Dickson

    In a perfect world, we’d all be tobacco-free, but that ain’t likely to happen any time soon.

    This agency faces so many challenges that are so much more important, I think, than regulating smoking in almost exclusively outdoor, open-air locations where a nonsmoker can opt to stand here, or over there.

    I understand all the public health stuff, I’d just prefer to see the new general manager and the new board focused on other critically important stuff.

  3. Darth Paul

    This is a foolish idea at best.
    We already pay inflated rates for mediocre service (I love it when drivers ask ME where they’re supposed to go, then get mad when I don’t know!) and CapMetro wants to alienate even MORE customers with this type of nanny regulation that’s obviously geared at claiming a bigger budget. Also, who is going to police this? Are we going to need to raise fares yet again in order to pay for a tobacco vice squad? How about investing some money in better training for drivers and expanded services?!

  4. Don Dickson

    I can’t call it “foolish,” I just can’t imagine it’s going to be particularly effective, nor that it is really necessary, nor that there aren’t better and more important things for the board and staff to be spending their time and money on.

  5. Jose

    You can’t arrest us all and you can’t deport us all. This is a racist policy. Sadly, it is becoming a crime to be homeless in this town. 90 % of the cities homeless population smokes. For those that have asthma you can sign up for Metro Access but first get certified with you doctor. Also you can asthma attacks from exhust fumes just as easily.

    Can you imagine them trying to enforce this at North Lamar Transit Center? No one would be riding the North Austin routes and as a result North Lamar Transit Center would have to be closed and it’s by by buses. I guess Capital Metro is trying to lose ridership by 2025.

    This will also scare off the immigrant population with police officers around the clock handing out tickets? would someone who citizenship status is in question ride the bus? no and that goes to a decrease in ridership and bye bye buses to N Lamar and Rundberg, more cars on the road and more exhaust fumes, hey I would take cigarette smoke anyday over exhaust fumes.

    I am allergic to perfume but we don’t ever see a no perfume policy. I have to suck that up just like every other allergy suffers. How about no cedar that would give TXDot a reason for more toll roads.

    Capital Metro needs to build indoor non smoking waiting areas like those of other cities with vending machines, water, snack machines, and change machines. If Via can do it, why can’t Capital Metro?

  6. Richard

    CapMetro, this is a great idea, and I know when I am waiting at a bus stop and there are people nearby smoking, I have thought, why can’t they have a non-smoking policy? To reassure you smokers out there, it will probably be enforced only minimally, and even then for just the most flagrant violators, kind of like other laws in Austin, such as jaywalking, bike riders who don’t stop at stop signs, skateboarders on sidewalks: these are all rarely enforced. Probably, with the economic climate the way it is, the City won’t be able to set aside money in the budget for a new force of tobacco police.

    Hundreds of scientific studies over the past several decades have shown without a doubt that tobacco smoke is dangerous to users and bystanders alike. Unfortunately, every time there is progress, one part of the population gains and another loses. If you, as a smoker, want to commit slow suicide, that is your business. But, your freedom to smoke stops when it reaches my nose.

  7. Jose

    To all those in favor of this policy you seem to forget about coming to grips with reality, you can get cancer from breathing the air regardless of smoke and most importantly the effects on second hand smoke are inconclusive, Algore and the EPA have conspired to cover up their findings, that is one of the reasons why Algore lost the election in 2000 he was a fraud and a failure. All this policy will do is kick the Hispanics Disabled and African American men from riding the bus. Let’s have a Jim Crow Whites Only Policy and state safety reasons or fill in the blanks excuse behind it. Yeah if it passes it will be enforced but only to the homeless minority and disabled population.

    1. Darth Paul

      Jose, it’s ignorant to suggest only disabled hispanics and black men smoke and would suffer from this nanny notion. I’m not disabled or black and I smoke. Please check yourself.

      I DO agree, however, that this would reduce ridership even further while driving up costs. It really seems like a political maneuver by the Board geared to a bigger budget grab and a “gold” star on their resumes- public health is just a smokescreen considering the busses themselves spew tons of carbon monoxide and other noxious/toxic gasses every year, the fact that there are no public restrooms at any of the transit stations, and the mediocre groundskeeping done at stops and transit stations.

  8. Pingback: Tobacco-Free Transit Facilities: Survey Results « Capital MetroBlog

  9. roberto

    Funny thing is that many of the bus drivers smoke (at least the ones on the 464 route do) and they obviously smoke in the bus when they drive alone.

    They don’t seem to realize that the bus smells like an ash tray even though they are not smoking when they stop to pick up passengers.

    I think I will go back to driving and putting up with traffic. With windows rolled up I don’t have to smell the stench.

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