Photo courtesy New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Web poll: Is your system considering banning smoking on rail platforms or at bus stops? Click here, to let us know.
New York State’s new smoking ban on MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and MTA Metro-North Railroad (Metro-North) outdoor platform, ticketing and boarding areas of terminals and stations went into this week.
To help get the word out, an All-Star lineup of New Yorkers volunteered to record public address announcements for Metro-North and the LIRR, including New York Jets Super Bowl hero Joe Namath, New York Ranger Hall of Famer Rod Gilbert, former New York Yankee Tommy John, WFAN sports commentator Ann Liguori, and Long Island native and former Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Fiedler.
“The new law is a benefit to our customers, helping us in our efforts to provide a healthier and cleaner environment on our platforms and in our ticketing and boarding area," said Metro-North President Howard Permut said.
In addition to the public service announcements, customer education campaigns to raise awareness of the new smoking ban will include seat drops on trains, posters in stations, customer email alerts, and postings on Facebook and Twitter. Permanent signage will also be installed at all LIRR stations in New York City, Nassau County and Suffolk County and all Metro-North stations in New York City, Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange and Dutchess Counties.
MTA Police will be issuing warnings to violators rather than summonses during a grace period while the education campaign is underway and both railroads amend their Rules of Conduct and those rules are approved by the MTA Board.
The current rules prohibit smoking on any train and in any indoor area within a terminal or station. The new state law extends the prohibition on smoking to the outdoor railroad platforms, ticketing and boarding areas. When the Rules of Conduct are amended for both railroads, it will provide the MTA Police with the authority to enforce the new law.
Additionally, Austin, Texas' Capital Metro is planning to prohibit smoking and other tobacco use within 15 feet of a bus stop, statesman.com reported. However, because the agencty does not have lawmaking authority, the tobacco ban at bus stops would be voluntary. For the full story, click here.