There I am, enjoying my morning commute (sounds like an oxymoron, I know) and suddenly the overwhelming scent of a McDonald’s sausage McMuffin invades my nostrils. It was so powerful you’d have thought I was standing by the bin outside the Olympic Park McDonald’s. But no, I was keeping to myself on the tube trying to breathe my way through the atrocious smell. It got me thinking, is it acceptable to eat on public transportation? Do the transport police in other countries enforce food bans? Or are we all destined to wreak of sausage McMuffins against our will no matter where we travel?
Singapore: no gum, no fun
If sucking on a sweet to cure motion sickness carries a $30 fine, we can only imagine what the Singapore transport police do to burger munching passengers or those with a durians. We’re thinking it involves 50 lashings and plenty of ketchup. Singapore takes the no eating ban to the next level on and off the bus with the ban of non-medicinal chewing gum. Which leads to my first question, how do you get a doctors note for chewing gum?
San Francisco: sweet as cherry pie
In a city filled with liberal views and a nude not lewd policy, it’s not surprising that a nibble here or there goes under the radar on San Francisco PT. Despite there being signs in every metro car and a $250 fine for eating or drinking in the paid area, riders choose to chow down on everything from fish tacos to cherry pies. In fact, you have a better chance of being struck by lightening than being fined for breaking the no eating or drinking law.
Brazil: no freijoada on board
In a country where even fruit is meant to be enjoyed with cutlery, it’s not surprising that Brazilians don’t stand for eating while riding. In fact, it’s even considered rude and strange to eat while walking. Food in Brazil is rarely eaten with your bare hands as it’s considered unhygienic. So unless you can squeeze a plate, fork, and knife in your handbag you won’t be eating on a bus anytime soon in Brazil.
London: Eat, but don’t drink
Boris Johnson may have conquered boozing on the tube (not without a bit of celebration) but eating and riding remains legal, yet frowned upon. While munching on a granola bar is viewed as quite acceptable, some people take it to an inappropriate level (shoving that sausage McMuffin down your throat!). London and San Francisco seem to be at odds with each other regarding the legality and acceptance of food on the move. It’s illegal but accepted in San Francisco, and legal but inappropriate in London.
How do you feel about eating on public transportation. Is it disgusting and rude? Or a necessary evil of our busy commuting lives? Comment below with your thoughts.