Sacramento Nixes Ban on Smelly Riders on Public Transport

Homeless Man Sleeps on Subway AP

The Sacramento Regional Transit Board of Directors instituted new rules on Monday aimed at cleaning up the city’s public transportation and improving service for riders — but riders with smelly body odor can keep their seats, for now.

The new rules, which take effect immediately, give Regional Transit officials the ability to remove loud and disruptive passengers, passengers who aren’t fully clothed, and passengers who have fallen asleep at the end of the line.

But nine out of ten Board members present at the meeting Monday night nixed the idea of a ban against smelly riders, according to local NBC affiliate KCRA. The rule would have allowed transit officials to remove any passenger who gives off a “noxious odor from the body, clothing or possessions that discomforts other passengers, unless the odor relates to a disability or medical condition.”

The proposed rule had prompted criticism from some homeless advocacy organizations, who said that it would unfairly target disadvantaged riders. Loaves and Fishes executive director Sister Libby Fernandez called the proposed rule against smelly riders “appalling.”

“And what else is a nuisance — someone who doesn’t have a pair of shoes on their feet?” Sister Fernandez told KCRA. “Well, give them a pair of shoes. But don’t put them out of a service they will need.”

It is believed the transit board beefed up the rules in advance of the opening of the Sacramento Kings’ new NBA arena next year.