ALBANY, N.Y. – Smokers in Albany will now face fines for smoking in bus shelters.
The decision was made by the Albany Common Council in a unanimous vote Monday night. The smoking ban in bus shelters isn’t new, but the CDTA said it wasn’t easy to enforce.
Marcus Reinhardt rides the CDTA bus every day. He said he’s guilty of taking a smoke under the bus shelter while waiting for a bus if it’s not too crowded.
“If there is an old person or kid there, I don’t want to be rude,” he said.
But under the new city ordinance, riders caught smoking in the shelters will be fined $50.
“A smoke free environment is so much better than being in one where you have to deal with a second hand smoke and the nuisance of second hand smoke,” Albany council member Richard Conti said.
Reinhardt said that reasoning doesn’t shock him.
“We’re kind of in this forefront in this fight against tobacco in public areas, so I’m not surprised,” he said.
Some riders like Beryl Anderson said she appreciates the fine and is glad something is finally being done.
“I just can’t shake the smell,” she said. “Sometimes I have to come out in the snow and let those that smoke stay under the shed.”
Reinhardt believes the fine is just another way for the city to generate money, but he said he will continue to step away from the shelter to smoke if it is bothering someone.
“If I notice somebody, I’ll go outside,” he said. “But I don’t care about smoking in the rain or snow. We live in New York.”
The council is considering more extensions to Albany’s smoking ban. Conti said the council will soon consider extending the ban at city playgrounds to include full city parks. The ban already included no smoking on property next to health facilities.
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