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Crackdown coming for transit smokers

<p>OC Transpo is helping along new year’s resolutions all over Ottawa by cracking down on smokers who light up on or near transit properties.</p>




David Gonczol/for metro ottawa


Kevin Glassford, of Ottawa, puffs a cigarette while walking past a bus shelter on Rideau Street yesterday. With the new year, OC Transpo is moving from education to enforcement to get smokers to butt out when at or near city transit properties.





OC Transpo is helping along new year’s resolutions all over Ottawa by cracking down on smokers who light up on or near transit properties.





A months long education campaign to remind smokers that it’s illegal to light up in, or within nine metres of, a city bus shelter is now turning to more consistent enforcement in the form of fines.





Starting this week, bylaw officers will be more stringently and consistently enforcing complaints, but warnings will still be issued where appropriate, said Kimberly Weston-Martin, program manager for transit law enforcement.





“We’re still going to be using education. I think discretion is going to supercede anything,” she said.





OC Transpo reviewed its bylaws last year, increasing the fines from $70 to $150 in July, Weston-Martin said. The fines can reach as high as $5,000 under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.





Over the last two months — since the time that OC Transpo launched its Smoke-Free Transit: A Better Place to Be campaign on Nov. 1 — bylaw officers had been educating violators, instead of writing out citations.





The Smoke-Free Transit campaign aims to educate smokers to respect other people’s air.


 
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