Often, Valley Metro riders waiting for their trains may hear station platform announcements asking riders not to smoke. Why do we ask you not to smoke cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, pipes or any other type of smoking material?

It’s all part of Valley Metro’s Code of Conduct, a policy in place since 2008. https://www.valleymetro.org/respect-ride

No smoking

The policy states all forms of smoking are prohibited anywhere in Valley Metro vehicles and on Valley Metro property. 

David Zebro, Valley Metro Transit Security Coordinator, said the no smoking rule begins on the ramp leading to the station platform known as the Paid Fare Zone with validated fare required. “It is strictly enforced,” Zebro said. “We don’t cite too often, but smokers must step off the station platform to smoke.” 

Arizona state law reads as follows: “Smoking is prohibited in all public places and places of employment within the State of Arizona. The term ‘public place’ refers to all enclosed areas to which the public is invited or in which the public is permitted.”  

Adrian Ruiz, Valley Metro’s Director of Safety, Security and Quality Assurance for Valley Metro, said that if you need to smoke, it’s okay on outdoor patios with one caveat: as long as tobacco smoke does not enter areas where smoking is prohibited either through entrances, windows, ventilation systems or other means.

Smoking is not allowed if it enters into an area controlled by a non-smoking ordinance, such as on-board trains. 

“This allows for a comfortable rider experience for all. We are working on bigger signage midway along the stations. While bus stops are not considered a ‘controlled paid fare zone,’ we discourage riders from lighting up while waiting for the bus to arrive. And you cannot smoke on board a bus,” Ruiz said.

There is a lingering problem of smoking as well: 
cigarette butts left on train platforms. We ask you to please put out your cigarettes and place your smoking materials in waste cans at rail stations before boarding.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, cigarette filters on four-fifths of all cigarettes are made of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic that is slow to decompose. A typical cigarette butt can take anywhere from 18 months to 10 years to break down, depending on conditions. This environmental hazard emphasizes the need to properly dispose of cigarette butts.

Additionally, Valley Metro’s new Customer Experience Coordinators are enforcing the no smoking policy in ticketed areas of light rail stations. If you see people smoking on station platforms or trains, let us know through the Alert Valley Metro app. It’s downloadable for Apple and Android phone users. 

Remember, public transit is like a team sport. If we all follow the rules and work together to respect the ride, we can have a great experience using Valley Metro.


Mark Carlson
Operations Communications Specialist
Mark Carlson is an Operations Communications Specialist with Valley Metro. He brings 40 years of newsroom experience to his new position including working as a newsroom supervisor for 23 years with The Associated Press in Washington, D.C. and Phoenix. In addition to serving as a writer, editor, anchor and reporter for radio stations in Phoenix and Los Angeles, he also worked as a television assignment editor and digital news writer and editor in Phoenix and Baltimore. Mark attended Arizona State University majoring in sociology, communications and religion.