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Friday Full Poll: Do you eat on transit?

We don’t advise doing it. [Update] In fact, you can purchase coffee and snacks on the West Coast Express. However, food and drink on transit can cause problems. Spill your pop or soup, and you not only get a mess, but you’ve created a potential safety hazard. Allergies to foods can also be a serious concern. Then there is the etiquette faux pas of eating and drinking on transit. Not everyone wants to smell your culinary creations or pungent fast food, let alone have it end up with it on their clothes. That said, we know that people do it. Riders often live busy lives and find themselves scarfing down their breakfasts or late dinners on transit. Hopefully, the food and drink you bring on board isn’t hard to clean, doesn’t cause a injury/reaction or, at least, is in a non-spill container.

One example of eating on transit.

Apart from wondering if you eat on transit, it would be interesting to know if you’ve seen others do it. Have you seen or smelled a Hungry Hamster recently?

Here’s one food on transit experience from one of our Facebook friends. Feel free to leave you stories of food and transit in the comments section.

Do you eat on transit?

  • Yes, I sometimes eat on transit. (50%, 179 Votes)
  • No, I never eat on transit. (46%, 166 Votes)
  • Yes, I eat every time I'm on transit. (3%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 357


  • By zack, March 30, 2012 @ 7:13 pm

    That’s easy!! never!(Okay maybe almost) Beverages maybe, but not food, even though I bring a couple of snacks with me, I rarely eat on transit. One day was one exception for me. I was waiting for the #19 bus at Stanley Park and once the bus arrived, the driver announced he’ll be back in a couple of minutes. However, for some reason the driver was absent longer than normal, and the hunger fangs were starting do some dirty work inside my stomach. I relieved my hunger with 18 Nutri-snack bars. Luckily it didn’t leave any debris on the bus :). I’ve seen far more bizarre behavior from other people though. Recently, I witnessed a man eating huge box of steaming (yes steaming) noodles on the SkyTrain (yuk!!). The story doesn’t end there, his cell-phone started to ring and just as he was about to answer it, the noodles quickly spilled on floor! It didn’t take long for the people to react negatively as they were all shaking their heads.

  • By Steven, March 30, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

    I would never eat or drink on board! There was a bloke on the 43 bus last night who was eating something extremely stinky, it was very overwhelming and made the journey uncomfortable for a number of people. I moved to the back of the bus and could still smell it. Usually I see drivers tell passengers not to bring take away food on the bus but let them on anyhow. No matter what the rules are people will still be dis-courteous to others and bring food on board but encouraging limiting it is very welcome.

  • By ???, March 30, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

    While food/drinks is discouraged, the message is inconsistent. Coffee is frequently seen on the Seabus. The West Coast Express has a coffee bar.

    One complaint I have is Broadway/Commmercial. You frequently have people boarding with food (pizza’s) in their hands and gorging as the bus pulls away.

  • By User, March 31, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

    I have not eaten on any public transit services before. I have brought beverages, only in re-sealable containers. You never know just how intense someone’s allergies could be, think of being one of those people with a potentially life threatening allergy. Personally, I would have a hard time stabbing myself with one of those giant epi (sp?) pens. I wouldn’t want to put that on someone, if I screw up my morning or whatever and miss my meal it’s my fault. Someone else should not be uncomfortable because I failed to plan my morning accordingly. If someone is unable to give themselves an extra 15-30min to eat a meal, then it clearly isn’t important enough to them in the first place. If it is, go to bed a lil’ sooner, wake up a lil’ sooner, and make a quality meal.

  • By Alan Robinson, April 1, 2012 @ 7:09 am

    Not very often, but I do sometimes snack on board with an item that won’t spill (an energy bar or bagged fries, but no pop or non-finger food …). If I do have something that could spill, I wait until my destination to eat it.

  • By Hungry Hippo Hunter, April 2, 2012 @ 8:08 am

    I echo ???’s comments about Broadway/Commercial. The last 2 times I boarded the B-Line at night, people sitting close to me gorged themselves fairly demonstratively.

    One of them opened and finished off a medium bag of chips, and another one might have been the same person zack saw – he sat down, opened a large styrofoam container full of aromatic noodles and enthusiastically dug into them until he reached his stop.

  • By Donald, April 2, 2012 @ 11:17 am

    If it doesn’t make a mess, have the potential to make a mess, it doesn’t smell, and doesn’t incite gross eating habits, I see no harm.

  • By Miguel, April 2, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

    It’s about the most inconsiderate thing you can do on transit. But allergies? “Scientists have developed a new more accurate test for peanut allergy after finding that eight out of ten children who previously tested positive were not in fact allergic to the nut.”

  • By JKKT - Kyle, April 2, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

    Technically never, Theoretically, Yes.

    I may get on the bus with a mouthful of pizza. If I can’t finish the pizza (Assuming that the pizza is on an open paper plate), I fold the plate and hold the pizza and get onboard, and I don’t eat it until I get off the bus.

    I believe that snack bars eg:Chewy & water bottles are okay

  • By del, April 2, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

    The TTC ( toronto transit commission ) allows not only food and drinks, but dogs ( leashed ),strollers, and bicycles ( bikes off-peak ) on all transit vehicles – including high floor buses and streetcars. The stantions that seperate the front and rear bi-fold door stepwells were removed recently on such vehicles to ease the loading of bikes and strollers. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, TRANSLINK !

  • By User, April 2, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

    @ Donald: Any examples? Just about anything that you eat has a smell that someone could find not desireable. Anything can be droped, it may not make as much of a mess as something else though. I see what you mean about eating habbits though. There is a difference between putting something small into your mouth, and trying to fit something the size of your hand.

  • By Reva, April 3, 2012 @ 2:54 am

    Aside from the odd candy or granola bar for low blood sugar emergencies, I never eat on transit. It just isn’t possible to properly enjoy food in a moving vehicle surrounded by crushing crowds! (Not only that, but the surrounding crowds in the moving vehicle enjoy watching/smelling you eating your food even less!)

    I’ve been known to attempt to bring a cup of coffee onto the bus if I haven’t had time to finish it at the bus stop. I always ask the driver if it’s OK first. Most of them don’t mind as long as it has a lid and as long as I promise not to throw it at anyone. If the driver says no, I just say thanks anyway and wait for the next bus (unless it’s an hour til the next one, in which case the coffee goes straight in the garbage bin).

    I think the thing that bugs me the most about people eating on transit is (and I know I’m preaching to the choir here) people leaving their garbage behind. It isn’t difficult to hang onto your cup/bottle/wrapper/box/crusts/peels until the end of the ride and put it in the garbage/recycling (facilities are usually at or near most stops and stations) where it belongs instead of leaving it there for everyone else to trip over and sit on and get grossed out by!

  • By Dave 2, April 3, 2012 @ 11:28 pm

    I’ve noticed that in the past year. the “rules” posted on the buses no longer say “no passenger shall eat, no passenger shall eat, no body shall drink alcohol”… It seems like the powers that be have just given up, though a few weeks back a 130 driver refused entry to someone with a half eaten apple.

  • By Kelly, April 5, 2012 @ 1:13 pm

    I don’t eat on board, unless it’s in a container & missed your meals between breakfast, lunch or dinner. More and more people are now busy doing on thing after another, that mostly you do miss your meals. I mostly carry diet bottled drinks or water on the bus that doesn’t make a spill & with no stickiness on the floor. I also am responsible for any food mess that is on the bus to pick things up & take it with you out of the bus. The transit system is not a litter park.

  • By annmarie, April 6, 2012 @ 2:06 pm

    I find it ironic that people are so offended by what others eat or drink on public transit and yet no one comments on other less desirable smells like bad body odour or perfume overload, or the stench of a recently smoked cigarette clouding the air around the given person. These are all typical public transit smells that we all have to put up with, like it or not. It’s part of the transit experience.

  • By ruby, April 8, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

    I rarely eat on transit. What really REALLY bothers me is when people eat fast food on the bus. I’m sorry but that stuff smells REPULSIVE. I have actually gotten off the bus before because people are eating fast food and I feel like throwing up. I really think people should not be allowed to get on the bus with a bag of McDonald’s burgers and fries. Gross!

  • By rieg, April 12, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

    I don’t agree with annmarie. The “transit experience” should not be something that the public perceives as smelly, loud, and low quality. It is not even an “experience”, we take transit every single day, it’s part of our lives. We don’t want to deter people from transit, thinking that their cars are more comfortable. We want to make people look up to transit, adore it, and encourage its use. That’s why I think Vancouver’s transit etiquettes and image are out-dated. In Tokyo and Hong Kong, it’s rude to even talk on transit, let alone eat.

  • By Megan, April 17, 2012 @ 9:55 am

    Usually if I’m really starving I’ll eat a granola bar on the bus (I would say it’s fairly low risk to make a mess with those!) but I am guilty of getting on the bus with hot chocolate, though I always keep it tightly sealed.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, April 29, 2012 @ 10:13 pm

    It’s amazing that we can complain about food, but not complain about cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke is evil.

    Fast food doesn’t stink. That’s why people eat it.

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, May 1, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

    Great discussoin going on here. One factor I’ve missed in all of this is the garbage eating on transit can cause (thanks for pointing that out Reva). Perhaps there’s another pet peeves character to come from that. Also, cigarette smoke…

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, May 2, 2012 @ 8:04 am

    Sadly, the bus drivers are the people usually smoking on the buses.

    On a slightly unrelated note, I noticed that bus drivers of the short buses play the radios. This is shocking to me, since they should be setting a great example.

  • By Bean, June 3, 2014 @ 5:34 pm

    Honestly people you have problems with something that you can’t control. I ride the west coast express and buses weekly. I have to put up with smelly people. Smelling food when im hungry, smelling really odd smells, etc. But I really can’t complain. One. It’s not my vehicle. Two. I can’t control other people. Three. You pay not even what you would pay for gas to get somewhere. And if these things really bothered me that much, I would get a license and my own vehicle instead of relying on someone else. Transit doesn’t need to be a part of out daily lives. We make it that way because it’s easier.

Other Links to this Post

  1. The Buzzer blog » Results of the Friday Poll: Do you eat on transit? — May 1, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

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