The VRE Operations Board approved a request to solicit public comment through email, letter, and phone on a proposed amendment to the VRE smoking policy.
Comments may be submitted through July 20 by:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fax: 703-684-1313
- Telephone: 703-684-1001
- Mail: VRE, Public Comments, 1500 King Street, Suite 202, Alexandria, VA 22314
VRE's current policy prohibits smoking on VRE trains and at indoor VRE facilities, and limits smoking to the first 100 feet at the north end of station platforms.
If approved, the amendment would modify the existing policy to prohibit smoking of pipes, cigarettes, cigars or any other object at outdoor VRE stations and platforms at all times, according to a VRE news release. VRE staff will report back to the operations board in August, with a summary of comments and recommendation for action.
At a May 18 meeting, VRE board member and Manassas Park City Councilman Suhas Naddoni told the board that he would like to see designated smoking areas away from non-smoking passengers, because of the dangers of second-hand smoke.
VRE board Chairman Wally Covington of Prince William County said that his jurisdiction would likely support a smoking ban at VRE stations.
CEO Dale Zenger told the board that it is important for the smoking policies to be consistent at all VRE stops.
VRE board member Sharon Bulova of Fairfax County said that it seemed like the majority of jurisdictions along the VRE line have, or will have smoking bans. She suggested having a no-smoking policy on the platform, but said ashtrays would still be allowed in the parking lot away from crowds.
Here’s what some of the other public transit systems in the area are doing. This information was gathered for the VRE board by VRE staff.
The Washington Area Transit Authority (WMATA): Smoking is prohibited in all WMATA vehicles—Metrobus, Metrorail and official vehicles—and facilities. Smoking is also prohibited within a 25-foot radius of any entrance, exit, or passageway that is an entrance or egress for a WMATA facility. The smoking policy at bus shelters and outside of Metrorail stations is based on the smoking ordinance of the local jurisdiction.
The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC): No smoking on buses, but smoking is allow at bus shelters.
The Fairfax Connector: Smoking is prohibited on buses and inside bus shelters owned by Fairfax County.
Fredericksburg Regional Transit Authority (FRED): No smoking on buses and only in designated smoking areas at headquarters.