Scents: HI Body Odor Ban

Hawaii The ACLU of Hawaii called the bill vague and open to discriminatory enforcement.

Council Considers BO Ban
Convicted Offender Could Face $500 In Fines

September 1, 2009

HONOLULU — Honolulu City Council members are considering a proposal to ban riders from buses if their body odor is too stinky.

Councilman Rod Tam and Councilman Nestor Garcia introduced the bill to regulate a number of dangerous or annoying behaviors on city buses including bad B.O.

Under the bill, police could cite riders if their body odor annoyed others and a convicted offender could face up to $500 in fines or six months in prison.

“I think it is a bit discriminatory to people but being a bus rider myself I think it would be helpful because some people do have really bad body odor,” said rider Meghan Tabadero.

The ACLU of Hawaii called the bill vague and open to discriminatory enforcement.

Other critics called the B.O. ban heavy handed.

“It is not a very compassionate thing to do. People can move away,” said rider Tracy Mathewson.

“I don’t think it is fair to kick someone off who may be homeless and may not be able to bathe. They may not have a place to bathe,” said rider Dwight Ovitt.

Supporters said the goal is to clarify passenger behavior with Oahu’s new transit system coming on line.

Tam said he’s received complaints about bus B.O.

“People are very concerned they don’t want to get sick when they experience body odor… offensive body odor they identify it with germs, diseases,” said Tam.

Veteran bus driver Thom Robinson says smelly riders can make it difficult to drive.

“It’s horrible — sometimes you have to get up and open up the vents, and it’s just obnoxious,” said veteran bus driver Thom Robinson.

Supporters of the bus behavior bill said it also includes and consolidates a lot of other useful prohibitions already on the books such as forbidding spitting on buses, being drunk on a bus or urinating when you are on a bus or at a bus stop.

The city transportation services department supports the bill pending legal review saying much of it is already law.

On 9 a.m. Thursday morning, the council’s Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on the bill that includes the provision to ban stinky bus riders.

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