Rush hour
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Loud or sleeping people will now be asked to leave buses and trains in the Californian city of Sacramento under new rules approved by transportation officials on Monday (26 October). Passengers will also be booted out if they are not properly clothed.

"If we can make it more attractive or make it more enjoyable to use the light rail or bus, then people are more apt to use it," said Alane Masui, spokeswoman for the Sacramento Regional Transit District.

The new rules come into effect following the passage of an ordinance to reform transportation mechanisms and make commuting pleasant for passengers. Under the new laws, passengers will also no longer be allowed to get on a bus or train unless they are covered "above and below the waist" and are wearing shoes. Those who refuse to comply with the new rules could be kicked off by authorities.

Advocates for disadvantaged Sacramentans, however, said the regulations were a swipe at homeless people, who have a right to ride buses and trains. They say even if the loud ban holds some logic, the one on sleeping passengers is outrageous. Many low income workers travel from one end of the city to the other after a long day's work and it seemed cruel that they could not even briefly rest while commuting.

Authorities denied targeting any specific group or discriminating against them. "We have an overall emphasis on enhancing security and rider experience. We're simply trying to focus on controlling improper behavior," said Regional Transit General Manager Mike Wiley to The Sacramento Bee.

One other proposal of the transport department - to ban smelly passengers - was, however, rejected by the ordinance committee. This proposal included barring all passengers who emitted a noxious odour from body, clothing or possessions that discomfited other passengers, unless the odour related to a disability or medical condition.