Raleigh, N.C. — Capital City bus riders are mixed about the Raleigh City Council's recent decision to back a policy that bans smoking at major Capital Area Transit bus stops.
Council members voted unanimously last Tuesday on the measure, which would prohibit smoking within 25 feet of boarding platforms at downtown Raleigh's Moore Square Station as well as other bus stops where two or more buses stop.
Some transit riders, like Laura Vega and Jason Knutsen, welcome the ban.
"Secondhand smoke is worse," Knutsen said. "(Smokers) shouldn't just be able to do what they want because they have a bad habit for themselves."
"I think it is inappropriate, because the rest of us can't control what's around us," Vega said.
That's the reason for the ban, according to David Eatman, transit administrator for the city.
He says that the policy is a response to public complaints about smoking at bus stops and is an effort to provide a comfortable environment for all members of the public.
"When a bus pulls up to a stop, such as at a transit station, patrons really don't have a choice where to stand," Eatman said. "They have to queue up at that location in order to board the bus. So, in those circumstances, they don't have a choice to get away from (smoke). That's what we're really concerned about in a location where someone may be confined to that secondhand smoke."
No-smoking signs will be posted at all affected bus stops, including those at Triangle Town Center and Crabtree Valley Mall, and Eatman says other accommodations will be made for smokers.
The city's attorney is developing an ordinance that will then go before the council for a vote later this year.
"We do not know, at this time, what the actual penalty will be and how that final ordinance will be written," Eatman said.
But some smokers say they feel a ban is unnecessary and unfair.
"We're out in the open," said Travis Lorfils. "I could see if it was inside, but it's a public space."
Other smokers say they don't have a problem with it.
"It's a way that you can smoke and be polite with it, and not be rude about it," Cassandra Silver said. "I don't have a problem with it."