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62 CHAPTER NINE POLICY CONSIDERATIONS IMPLEMENTATION, ENFORCEMENT, PUBLIC safety assessment concluded large items on the buses should INFORMATION, AND PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS not be permitted as they restricted the movement of passen- gers during evacuation." One large agency noted specific This chapter addresses issues from the survey that are com- events that influenced its decisions in one case. According mon to many types of large items brought on board tran- to a survey respondent, "some customers tried to move big sit vehicles.The information summarized is in response to objects like a sofa or a fridge" via transit. questions about why agencies developed the policies they have, agency responsibilities for enforcement of the vari- Sometimes, policies regarding safely managing large ous policies, and what transit agencies are doing to provide items on platforms and aboard transit vehicles are drafted information to the public and, in some cases, address public and implemented in the wake of accidents or safety-related concern or outcry. This chapter concludes with a case study incidents. In the survey, 11 of 37 (30%) agencies indicated of OC Transpo's experience with developing and enforcing that they experienced an accident or incident regarding large its stroller policies, and the challenges the agency faces in an items either on or in the process of boarding transit vehicles environment of vocal transit users and significant press cov- (Table 31). erage of events surrounding the development of its policy. TABLE 31 HAS YOUR AGENCY EXPERIENCED ANY SAFETY- SURVEY RESPONSES RELATED INCIDENTS OR INJURIES RELATED TO BRINGING STROLLERS, CARTS, LUGGAGE, BICYCLES, Impetus to Develop Policies Regarding Large Items on MOBILITY AIDS, OR OTHER LARGE ITEMS ON VEHICLES? Vehicles Yes 30% (11) No 54% (20) Different types of circumstances led to the development Don't Know 16% (6) of the policies agencies have in place regarding bringing n = 37. large items on transit vehicles. When asked why they devel- oped their policies, several agencies offered broad reasons. Safety for passengers and drivers was one of the primary Medium and large agencies reported the majority of inci- concerns, but some respondents gave specific accounts of dents--ranging from "scraped shins [and] pinched fingers," extreme circumstances that demanded adoption of a com- "tip-overs of mobility devices injuring other riders," and prehensive policy: "claims of injury due to tripping over luggage or mobility devices on the bus," to an example where "a train passenger Large numbers of grocery bags and other items that attempted to board by inserting a stroller in a closing door." were a burden to drivers and presented safety risks to other passengers; Sometimes, the introduction of new technology into exist- Clients on a paratransit service who expected drivers ing public realms may lead to mishap. BART, for one, crafted to load and unload, and transport large items into cli- its Segway policy "after an out-of-control [device] rolled ents' homes; onto the tracks and was hit by a train." Contemporary news Carts and multiple grocery bags tipping over; and reports supplement this incident, explaining that no one was A child's stroller being thrown in an accident. aboard the Segway when it rolled off a platform and was hit by a train but that the accident caused significant delay. Large and midsized agencies, for the most part, identified broader reasons for developing their large item policies. One One small agency explains that it pays careful attention large agency operating bus, rail, and paratransit service put to maintaining its regulations: "Strictly enforcing the clear it succinctly: "Passenger safety, insurance issues and dwell aisle and managing passengers' own parcels policies ... has time at stops" were all considerations in developing a large helped avoid incidents." Nevertheless, the policies have not items policy. Another large agency noted that a "risk and always stopped complaints.

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63 Twenty-three of 37 agencies (62%) reported that they have policies are appropriate, fair to consumers, reasonable to received complaints related to bringing large items or trans- enforce, maximize convenience, and balance the agency's port aids aboard their vehicles (Table 32). Their approximate needs with operational realities, respondents agencies over- totals of yearly/monthly complaints varied widely. Six of the all were positive in their assessments. Figure 60 shows the 23 "yes" respondents noted in the comment field that they responses, in which roughly 57% and 71% of respondents did not know the related data. Five of the 17 agencies that indicated that each metric applied to "all large items covered provided detailed responses tallied one or fewer complaints by our policies." per month. Four of the agencies noted between two and six complaints monthly, and a few agencies said they receive TABLE 33 only between two and five complaints per year. Likely as DOES AGENCY HAVE A COMPREHENSIVE SET OF a result of their size, larger agencies log more complaints. COMPLEMENTARY, NONCONFLICTING POLICIES One large agency has an average of 10 complaints per month REGARDING BRINGING DIFFERENT LARGE ITEMS ON related to bringing large item on vehicles, although another BOARD VEHICLES? agency reports between 20 and 50 complaints per month. Yes 69% (25) Three agencies noted that most of their complaints were No 25% (9) related to bicycle accommodation. N/A 2 n = 36. TABLE 32 HAS YOUR AGENCY RECEIVED COMPLAINTS RELATED TO BRINGING STROLLERS, CARTS, LUGGAGE, BICYCLES, Some respondents clarified their responses of "some- MOBILITY AIDS, OR OTHER LARGE ITEMS ON VEHICLES? what" and "not for any" for some of the metrics. One large Yes 62% (23) agency noted that "vague policies lead to inconsistent appli- No 24% (9) cation from operator to operator and customer confusion," and therefore ranked each metric as "somewhat." Another Don't Know 14% (5) large agency marked that it was somewhat able to maxi- n = 37. mize convenience for consumers, explaining that "bicyclists would like to use the system during peak hours to cover the Effectiveness of Agency Policies last mile of their trip. Due to [crowding] concerns, we are not able to change our policy. We are trying to address the need Twenty-five agencies (69%) indicated that their policies on through other planning and programs." bringing different large items aboard transit vehicles are organized in a complementary, nonconflicting, compre- Once established, policies adopted by transit agencies hensive manner (Table 33). Asked to evaluate these poli- are not always deemed effective. Figure 61 summarizes cies using a few effectiveness metrics regarding whether agencies' assessments of the effectiveness of their policies. FIGURE 60 Evaluation of agency's policies regarding bringing large items on board vehicles (n = 35).

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64 Although 86% of wheelchair policies were deemed "effec- must move the stroller if a passenger with a mobility device tive" or "very effective" (rated 4 or 5), only 61% of poli- boards." A large agency noted that its bicycle rules on rail cies governing luggage, carts, or parcels were rated 4 or 5. "[imply] that wheelchairs would have priority over bicycles Thirteen percent of agencies deemed their stroller policies though it's not specifically stated." "less effective" or "not at all effective" (2 or 1). Even when the agencies consider their policies to be "effective," only Only a few agencies provided additional information 21% believe the enforcement of the policies addressing large about how they deal with multiple large items (and possible items is "very effective," and 31% rate their enforcement as conflicts) on transit vehicles. One small agency described a "neither effective nor ineffective" (3). Many agencies have hypothetical rare situation: "the driver may call for a para- policies in place but acknowledge that enforcement of the transit vehicle to provide assistance or a paratransit driver policies has been unsuccessful, uneven, or impractical. may ask for fixed route driver assistance." Another small agency explained that "in many cases, drivers that have com- pleted their shift [on the last trip of the day] will stand-by to take any additional passengers with luggage and/or strollers that will not fit on the scheduled bus." Seventeen of 36 respondents (47%) felt that their poli- cies regarding bringing large items on transit vehicles could be improved; of the rest, five believed that the cur- rent policies were already effective, and 14 said they did not know (Table 35). TABLE 35 DO YOU THINK YOUR POLICY/POLICIES COULD BE IMPROVED? FIGURE 61 Summary of agencies' assessments of the Yes 47% (17) effectiveness of their policies. No 14% (5) Don't Know 39% (14) Although most agencies indicate that their policies are n = 36. complementary and nonconflicting, some of the policies themselves are intended to manage conflicts on board vehi- cles by prioritizing one type of large item (or user group) Those that believed that their policies could be better over another. Nineteen agencies (49%) prioritize one item offered myriad solutions ranging from expanded publicity of over another on their vehicles (Table 34). All of these agen- existing policies to both targeted and nonspecific improve- cies indicated that persons with disabilities take precedence. ments. One small agency explained the "policies are okay" Of these, 16 specifically mention that wheelchairs are the but the agency "could [improve] education and consistent number one priority. A few agencies are less specific, vari- enforcement." Two other agencies were confident with their ously noting that "mobility devices have a priority" or that policies, but suggested that improved vehicle design could "disability trumps non-disability related items." Most likely, render their services more efficient and flexible. One mid- the majority of these policies are informed by the ADA, sized agency suggested that improvement would manifest which prioritizes transit accommodation for disabled pas- as "buying vehicles that can accommodate more wheelchair sengers and their accompanying items. bays due to the growing demand." TABLE 34 A few agencies saw continual policy improvement as a DOES THE AGENCY PRIORITIZE ONE TYPE OF LARGE prime responsibility. One small agency explained that as a ITEM OVER ANOTHER? rule, "policies should always be reviewed as new items come Yes 49% (19) out on the market and perhaps the policy can be tweaked to be more inclusive." Another small agency added, "Our policies No 51% (20) can be improved through passenger contact or recommenda- n = 39. tions. We are restrictive only when we absolutely must be or [when] safety is a concern. We are always open to new ideas A few agencies provided examples of what must occur in in event we missed something." Another agency suggested the event of conflicts among large items. One midsized agen- more rigorous planning: it deemed that its policy "probably cy's passengers "using the securement area for their stroller should address some contingencies should they occur."

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65 Other respondents noted specific areas for improve- TABLE 37 ment. One large agency suggested that "securement should ARE BUS DRIVERS EXPECTED TO ENFORCE THE be mandatory for mobility devices on buses" and another AGENCY'S POLICIES? proposed "being more specific about items allowed, and Yes 92% (33) making this information available to the riding public." No 8% (3) A small agency confirmed the scope of the survey: "We n = 36. would like to see what others do with our two biggest areas: elderly and young moms with little ones." Finally, one agency expressed a particularly thoughtful concern Agencies that operate buses were asked specifically by noting that "consistent enforcement tempered by good about bus driver roles and responsibilities in the enforce- judgment is always difficult." ment of all of their policies. As shown in Figure 62, 32 of 36 (89%) agencies expect their drivers to deny boarding to More than one-half of the surveyed agencies (21 of 38) passengers with items that are not permitted on the vehicles. consider their large item and transport aid policies to be Additionally, 25 of 36 (69%) expect their operators to deny models for other agencies. Only five respondents said that admittance to passengers with large items when they are they did not consider their agency to be a model (Table 36). concerned about vehicle capacity. A smaller proportion of Of those that responded "yes," two agencies provided the agencies (12 of 36, or 33%) expect their bus drivers to ask reasoning behind their answers. One, a medium-sized pro- patrons with large items to leave the vehicle when a passen- vider, noted that it is a model for others "in particular for ger with a wheelchair is boarding. Respondents were split strollers and Segways." The other, a small agency, explained about nonitemized restrictions and bus driver policies. that the staff "researched stroller policies online before writ- ing ours," and because of that, they "were able to avoid some mistakes other agencies experienced by being a little more flexible with our policy. So far it has worked out well." A few of those that did not consider their agency to be a good model also added comments. One large agency noted that for other agencies, its own "overly complex rules would be inappropriate and difficult to enforce." Another large agency remarked that it has "many routes with high ridership and high turnover. [Our] policies would only be appropriate for similar properties." FIGURE 62 Expectations of bus drivers: Are bus drivers expected to do any of the following (n = 36)? TABLE 36 DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR AGENCY TO BE A GOOD MODEL WITH REGARD TO POLICIES/STRATEGIES Generally, agencies noted that drivers have the ability to FOR ADDRESSING LARGE ITEMS ON BOARD TRANSIT deny boarding to passengers if the large items they intend to VEHICLES? bring aboard are of a dangerous nature; as elsewhere, several Yes 55% (21) respondents indicated that safety was the primary concern. No 13% (5) Four agencies indicated that if confronted with an unusual situation involving a large item, drivers are expected to Don't Know 32% (12) either consult with a supervisor or call the dispatcher, espe- n = 38. cially in cases reported by one agency where "they feel they have a potential safety issue." Agency Enforcement of Policies One small agency explained that "drivers have to deny A majority of respondent agencies indicated that their boarding to passengers whether they have large items or not bus drivers are expected to enforce the agency's large when the buses are full to capacity." item policies (Table 37). The handful that marked "no" added clarification of their situations. One small agency Many agencies that operate rail enforce their policies noted that although "some drivers try to enforce [the poli- through transit police (12 of 17 agencies, or 71%) or train cies]...ultimately supervisors and management enforce." operators (9 of 17, or 53%). Figure 63 shows policy enforce- A medium-sized agency listed "transit supervisors" as ment personnel for rail operations. the frontline for enforcement, and one large agency com- mented that its own "police or supervisors" serve as policy Three agencies marked the "other" category and clarified enforcement entities. their responses. Two indicated that supervisors enforce the

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66 agency's large item policies on rail, and the other indicated that there is no enforcement. FIGURE 64 On a scale of 1 to 5, where 5 is very successful and 1 is not at all successful, how successful do you think the agency is at enforcing its policies (n =39)? Public Information about Agency Policies FIGURE 63 Rail: Who is responsible for enforcing the Although the majority of agencies distribute information agency's policies (mark all that apply) (n =17)? about their large item policy in brochures and on their web- sites (31 of 39 agencies, or 79%), a significant number (26 or Generally, all respondent agencies indicated that they felt 67%) also post the information on the vehicles (Figure 65). at least moderately successful at enforcing their large item The surveyed agencies and the ways they communicate their policies, with 27 of 39 (69%) rating their enforcement as policies are shown in Table 38. "effective" (4) or "very effective" (5). Figure 64 shows that only about 20% of surveyed agencies rated their enforce- ment as "very effective." Some of the agencies that rated themselves highly did so because they have not had much experience in dealing with large items. One small agency rated its enforcement as "effective" but also commented that "it's hard to know because we encounter few situations with large items." Another small agency with the same rating wrote, "we simply do not have a high demand for passengers bringing on large items." However, many of the comments qualified the effective- FIGURE 65 How is information about the agency's policies ness of the policies and enforcement in dealing with large provided (n = 39)? items. One agency that rated itself "very effective" noted that the agency's drivers are "consistent and fair and apply Agencies were asked if they have any information bro- all policies evenly." Additionally, several agencies provided chures specifically about bringing certain large items on transit detailed answers, some of which follow: vehicles (Table 39), and 16 of the agencies indicated that they do (43%). As shown in Figure 66, wheelchairs and bicycles "The biggest problem is saying `no' to the person in a are the most frequent brochure topics among the agencies that wheelchair or walker with a package who struggles to produce such informational material. One small agency noted manage it alone. The second big problem [is] with the that although it does not produce brochures about specific young mom with a toddler and one in the stroller. The large items, its bus schedule "explains how to use bike racks." drivers struggle with these." "It is difficult to enforce rules against bicycles on trains at peak times in peak directions and also on rules against bicycles on crowded trains; It depends. Bike policies are probably enforced fairly well by Station Agents upon station entrance/exit. Once on the train however, policies would need to be enforced by the train operator who would only see the bicyclist if he/she was on the first car (which is prohibited)." "Vague policies open to interpretation and no consis- tent application from operator to operator creates con- FIGURE 66 Agency prepares brochures specifically about fusion for the customers." which items?

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67 TABLE 38 PUBLIC INFORMATION TOOLS BY AGENCY Information is: Posted on Provided via spoken Type of Posted on Posted at agency Printed in announcement at a Provided in Agency Service vehicles stations/ stops website brochures stop or on a vehicle another way Small Brandon Transit Bus Brandon, Manitoba Downeast Transportation, Inc. Bus (3) Ellsworth, Maine Greater Glens Falls Transit Bus Glens Falls, New York Macatawa Area Express Transportation Bus (2) Authority (MAX), Holland, Michigan City of Las Cruces RoadRUNNER Bus Transit, Las Cruces, New Mexico Las Vegas Monorail Company Rail Las Vegas, Nevada The T Bus Lawrence, Kansas SunTran Bus Ocala, Florida Ottumwa Transit Authority Bus (1) Ottumwa, Iowa Pullman Transit Bus Pullman, Washington River Bend Transit Bus Quad Cities, Iowa Marble Valley Regional Transit District Bus (MVRTD), Rutland, Vermont City of Sioux Falls/Sioux Area Metro Bus Sioux Falls, South Dakota Metro Ride Bus Wausau, Wisconsin Medium CyRide Bus Ames, Iowa Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority Bus (Tri Delta), Antioch, California Valley Transit Bus Appleton, Wisconsin Central Contra Costa Transit Authority Bus (CCCTA), Concord, California VOTRAN Bus Daytona Beach, Florida Lane Transit District Bus Eugene, Oregon Lee County Transit Bus Ft. Myers, Florida/Lee County Table 38 continued on p. 68

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68 Table 38 continued from p. 67 BC Transit Bus Kelowna, British Columbia Laketran Bus Lake County, Ohio Metro Transit Bus Madison, Wisconsin North County Transit District (NCTD) Bus/ Rail Oceanside, California Sarasota County Area Transit Bus Sarasota, Florida Large Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Bus/ Rail Authority (MARTA), Atlanta, Georgia Capital Metro Bus/ Rail Austin, Texas Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Bus/ Rail Chicago, Illinois Community Transit Bus Everett, Washington Public Transit Division (TheBus) Bus Honolulu, Hawaii Metropolitan Transit Authority Harris Bus/ Rail County (METRO), Houston, Texas Miami-Dade Transit Bus/ Rail Miami, Florida Socit de transport de Montral (STM) Bus/ Rail Montreal, Quebec NJ TRANSIT Corporation Bus/ Rail Newark, New Jersey MTA New York City Transit Bus/ Rail New York, New York San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit Rail (4) District (BART), Oakland, California OC Transpo Bus/ Rail (5) Ottawa, Ontario Southeastern Pennsylvania Transporta- Bus/ Rail (6) tion Authority (SEPTA), Philadelphia, Penn. TriMet Bus/ Rail Portland, Oregon Utah Transit Authority (UTA) Bus/ Rail Salt Lake City, Utah Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Bus/ Rail Authority (WMATA) Washington, District of Columbia (1) Provided one-on-one to passengers as needed. (2) We rotate policies through our website homepage, often depending on time of year. (3) Employees at our Village Green "hub" relay information to passengers as they board the buses. Drivers also give information at other stops. (4) We have a "bike rules" car card that is posted on some vehicles. Stations where bikes are not allowed at all during commute hours have unofficial signs posted at the entrances. If someone is in violation of the bike policy, e.g., a bike on the first car, the train operator will probably make an announcement. (5) Refers to website and Transit By-Law. (6) This is part of a "Passenger Etiquette Campaign," and the emphasis is on cooperation and courtesy.