OC Transpo butts out

<p>OC Transpo has officially butted out along the entire transit system — plus some.</p>


Strict new bylaw prohibits smoking at bus stops



Tim Wieclawski/Metro Ottawa


A pedestrian passes between an OC Transpo bus and a bus shelter’s No Smoking sign in Ottawa yesterday. A strict new ban on smoking anywhere on the transit system is now in effect.

OC Transpo has officially butted out along the entire transit system — plus some.

A strict new transit bylaw now in effect prohibits smoking at any bus stop on any city street — as well as within nine metres of transit properties — under threat of fines, although the city plans an education campaign before getting tough on offenders.

“There is a growing appetite for more smoke-free environments, including outdoor public places,” said councillor and transit committee chair Alex Cullen.

The smoking ban applies to all properties — the Transitway, platforms, stations, vehicles, shelters, bus stops and Park & Ride lots — and smokers who defy it could face fines of between $150 and $5,000. But strict enforcement will begin in 2008, after a public education program launched yesterday informs riders of the ban.

The education campaign called “Smoke Free Transit: A Better Place To Be” will see members of the anti-smoking youth group Expose visiting schools to pass the message and special constables at transit stops to inform people.

Alain Mercier, director of transit services, said the bylaw comes partly in response to customer complaints.

“What we saw regarding the bylaw on a smoke-free environment in transit was that it was not necessarily respected in the general population,” he said.

Transit rider Rod Daffoe welcomed the bylaw. He often sees smokers light up, even inside bus shelters once the weather gets nasty.

“I’ve even seen people smoking right in front of the no-smoking signs,” he said. “Most smokers are considerate, but you get the odd one who is stubborn.”

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