Should the CTA ban stinky people?

Honolulu is considering an ordinance that would make it illegal to “bring onto transit property odors that unreasonably disturb others or
interfere with their use of the transit system, whether such odors
arise from one’s person, clothes, articles, accompanying animal or any
other source.”

A violator could be thrown off  the bus and issued a ticket by cops. If convicted, the person could be fined up to $500, spend up to six months in jail, or be both fined and jailed. The city council in Hawaii’s capital city will take up the proposed ordinance today.

But should the CTA ask for a similar ordinance here in our fair clime? The CTA says it will not. I mean, how do you legislate smelliness? Isn’t that something that would be in the nose of the besmeller?

And sure, there are the stinky homeless people, but what about the Gold Coast matron who boards the #22 Clark dripping in obnoxious perfume? To me, that’s just as offensive as the unclean homeless dude.

There are plenty of people I would like to see banned from buses, but I don’t think stinky folks are the biggest problems on the CTA.

Now, since the CTA is always looking for rnew revenue opportunities, here’s a chance to get sponsorships from deodorant companies. For instance, AXE could take over an entire rail car or bus with ads, with spritzer containers at the doors for folks to try some.

Of course, this idea has caught the eye of other media types, including WBBM-TV2 News, which interviewed me on the subject early this morning. Also, the Tribune’s own John Kass has his say on the subject, with some thoughts from yours truly as well.


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  • I'm saying no only because I don't know who gets to define 'stinky.' There's some very popular men's cologne that smells exactly like Raid to me. If you used my definition of stinky, those guys would be banned as well as the unwashed.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    I'm sure they would define it. SOmething like "If you can be smelled from 10 feet away," and "If the odors include feces, urine, vomit, body odor, garlic, or otherwise pungent odors" I'm sorry to the author but perfume would not be included, if you have been around someone who hasn't bathed in weeks or who has soiled their pants, you would LOVE to smell perfume, any kind, instead.

  • The CTA should definitely ban stinky people, as well as smoking, eating, littering, and radio playing. Oh wait.

    It doesn't matter what's "banned" because nothing's enforced.

  • I see the votes are about evenly split on the issue (as of this writing), and I can see (or smell) both sides. I voted no, with misgivings, and might almost as well have voted yes with misgivings.

    But it's really going to cramp my style if I can't bring my basket of ferrets with me on the CTA.

  • Osama bin Laden could spend an hour hanging out with a bunch of large bags at Clark/Lake and the CTA wouldn't notice or care. Nothing is ever enforced.

  • In reply to stephenw235:

    he's probably also very stinky

  • In reply to stephenw235:

    Well, just how do you enforce a "no smelly people" rule? As it's already been said, what's offensive to some, may not be to others. As an operator myself, I'd love to be allowed to tell a person who stinks that they can go ahead, and step right back off the bus, but just because I find it offensive, doesn't mean everyone does.

    So what do you do? Hire Stink Security to ride every bus, and every train car? Obviously that won't happen, cause that would mean more money, and CTA customers react to a $0.25 fare hike like the murder of a family member.

  • In reply to goldminetim:

    Well, I started to say the CTA could use dogs, but then I remembered the stuff our beagle used to think was nectar and ambrosia, so no; not dogs.

  • In reply to goldminetim:

    I don't think stinky should get you banned. What's next? Banning ugly people?

    However, the point of the ban isn't so much to keep stinky people off the trains/busses as much as it is to give police and security people an arbitrary reason to kick someone off the bus? If the cops are ticked at you for some reason, they just lean in and decide you're stinky, and then they have a legal reason to kick you off.

  • In reply to Byron:

    Banning ugly people, now that would be funny stuff.

  • In reply to goldminetim:

    some bus routes would lose their riders...

  • In reply to goldminetim:

    While training for the Chicago Marathon in 2007, I got on a bus soon after finishing a 20-mile training run. Three different people sat down next to me, paused, and then moved to another seat. I felt terrible. I also had no other way of getting home to my shower. It's public transportation, and sometimes it's going to stink. As a family friend likes to say, when you open your door to the public... the public comes in.

  • In reply to ellembee:

    One of my friends used to work in a restaurant and would stink horribly, chefs are around the high heats and sweat a lot, plus the smell of fried food. Really felt bad taking public transportation home. But at least used body spray.

  • In reply to goldminetim:

    i voted yes i mean if the smell is too a point where you can hardly stand it.they do have rights yes,but offensive odors that fills up the cars just crosses the line you might as well be at a crime scene with white gloves on and a mask? it's too much.

  • In reply to Byron:

    Just imagine you're standing at a bus stop, and as the bus goes flying by, the operator holds up a sign that says "Sorry, you're too ugly"

  • In reply to Byron:

    The C.T.A. could make lots of money by placing vending machines selling scents in stations.Selling umbrellas and rain ponchos would be a good idea.
    If we must go the corporate naming route,at least steal my Olympic venue shared cost version.
    Puma -Caterpillar - Cross station
    Burger King- Frye station
    J.C. Penney -Candies station

  • In reply to JamesReyes:

    Except as a person with allergies to some of this stuff, I would sue the pants off the CTA. Although I like the idea of umbrellas and rain ponchos. Also corporate naming of stations/lines--I know I'd end up on the UPS Brown Line, but I don't care if that means the CTA could fix stuff.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    They should use a scent that is not a scent, like febreeze or something neutral that is just an "odor remover" not a perfume.

  • In reply to JamesReyes:

    I think that this kind of ban is stupid, but I really hate riding the Brown Line next to some dude who seems to have last showered about 5 years ago.

  • In reply to JamesReyes:

    "Looking for looking new revenue opportunities."

    The CTA could (i) ban inordinate smelliness and then (ii) issue a license-to-stink to those in need.

    Trying to think outside the box.

  • In reply to JamesReyes:

    why ban stinky people when they dont even clean the trains? the trains smell worse than any passenger ive witnessed. urine soaked cars in July is not kind to nasal passages.

  • In reply to cubs120:

    How often do the trains get cleaned? I wonder, has there been a study done, like samples of swabs from the seats?

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