ACLU has a problem with seating policy at Penn Station Newark
According to a story on NJ.com, there's a new policy at Newark's Penn Station regarding who can sit where and the ACLU is questioning the constitutionality. The ACLU ought to sit this one out.
If you want to sit in the main waiting area you now need to show a train ticket. A checkpoint allows NJ Transit Police to verify you're a ticketed customer. If you're not, you don't sit there. NJ Transit says the policy is not intended to keep homeless people out but rather to be sure there's enough seating for ticketed passengers. Civil libertarians don't buy this, and some are saying it's awful to deny homeless people seats in a place that is inviting the public by offering restaurants and shops.
I personally know people who have told me they have not been able to find a seat at Penn Station Newark when waiting for a train because of homeless people not only using the seats but being sprawled out sleeping on them taking up three or four spaces. Friends have described to me all the paying passengers standing around waiting while the homeless turned the seating area into a bedroom.
The ACLU and activists level this charge of 'trying to keep homeless people out' as if it were the worst thing one could do. If they are right and NJ Transit is talking around the issue I would still support the policy 100 percent. They shouldn't have to shy away from trying to make seating available to paying customers over homeless people. It's a train station, not a homeless shelter.
Through no fault of their own, the homeless often suffer bad hygiene and mental illness. Paying customers should not be pushed to the side in the name of political correctness.
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