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19 CHAPTER THREE SURVEY RESULTS The survey inquired about methods to address operator assaults, Many agencies use a combination of methods. The details including technologies, policing, policy and legislation, fare and of the "combination" category, which received 23 responses, rules enforcement policies, definition of "assault" used by the are shown in Figure 4. Although none of the agencies used agency, assault characteristics, contributing factors, training, supervisors or bus operators as their sole primary security employee assistance, data collection and reporting practices, provider, four agencies indicated that they use a combination bus operator selection methods, impact of violence against of employees, including operators and supervisors, and local, operators, and respondent characteristics. Results were differ- county, state or provincial law enforcement as their primary entiated based on bus fleet size, with large agencies corre- security providers. sponding to those with >1,000 peak buses, medium agencies to 250 to 1,000 peak buses, and small agencies to <250 peak buses. FARE AND RULES ENFORCEMENT Sixty-six responses, a 75% response rate, were obtained. Because fare and rules disputes between operators and pas- The 88 survey recipients included the 50 largest U.S. transit sengers contribute to passenger assaults of bus operators, agencies, multimodal or bus-only, as well as randomly selected enforcement policies are relevant to this study. Both ques- agencies representing medium and small agencies. Several tions allowed multiple responses. In developing these ques- Canadian agencies and a Chinese BRT system were also tions, the fact that there may be a disparity between actual included in the survey distribution list. See Appendix E to practice and agency policy was noted by the contractor team. better understand the responses. However, because actual practice would be difficult to deter- mine in the context of this study, the team focused on agency CHARACTERISTICS OF SURVEY RESPONDENTS policy and instruction provided to the bus operator. Survey respondents were geographically diverse; they repre- sented every region of the United States, along with three Cana- Fare Payment Enforcement dian provinces. Based on bus fleet size, about half of the 66 Agencies reported a variety of fare payment enforcement respondents, or 47%, were small agencies (<250 peak buses), policies, ranging from conflict avoidance to zero tolerance. and the other half were either midsize or large agencies (see Fig- Zero tolerance emanates from the "Broken Windows" theory ure 1). Forty-one percent of the 66 respondents reported having of policing. The theory states that minor quality-of-life vio- annual bus ridership of at least 50 million, as shown in Figure 2. lations, if unchecked, can lead to serious crimes, owing to the image of an out-of-control transit environment presented to SECURITY PROVIDER potential criminals. At the same time, no agency expects its bus operators to enforce fare payment by physically escort- The type of security being provided for bus operations can ing passengers off the bus. Conflict avoidance is at the other affect the effectiveness and efficiency of the security response. end of the enforcement spectrum--although the operator Agencies were requested to indicate their primary security may be expected to state the required fare, benefit of the provider(s). Multiple responses were allowed. Forty-four doubt is amply provided to passengers who may underpay or percent of the 66 respondents to this question indicated that do not pay. Figure 5 presents the survey results to this fare their primary security provider for the respondents was local, payment enforcement policy question. Eighty-six percent of county, or state or provincial police, and 35% used a combi- the 64 respondents stated that bus operators are instructed to nation of providers as shown in Figure 3. Respondents that state the required fare. Systems with automated announce- indicated having transit police departments were generally ments reminding passengers about fare payment may not re- large or midsize agencies operating in metropolitan areas. The quire bus operators to state the required fare. Systems with smallest agencies indicated that they used local law enforce- off-board fare payment or other payment systems that use the ment. These results were expected because smaller agencies honor system would not require operators to state the required typically have fewer resources as well as fewer incidents than fare either. Fifty-three percent indicated that they instruct larger agencies have, and therefore cannot afford or do not their bus operators to use their judgment. These agencies require their own police or security personnel. allow the operator to determine when and to what extent to
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20 0-49,999,999 50,000,000-99,999,999 100,000,000-499,999,999 500,000,000 and Above 9% 12% 20% 59% FIGURE 1 Respondents by bus fleet size. FIGURE 2 Respondents by ridership. FIGURE 3 Primary security provider. FIGURE 4 Primary security provider--respondents who selected combination.
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21 FIGURE 5 Fare payment enforcement; bus operators are instructed to . . . perform fare enforcement actions based on the situational Other-Rules Enforcement context of each event. Fifty-three percent indicated that bus operators are instructed to summon supervision, police, or secu- Transit agencies establish a code of conduct for passengers, rity. Seventeen percent instruct operators to ask fare evaders a set of rules that are to be followed in their system. Many to de-board the bus. Five agencies instruct their operators to states and localities have liquor and narcotics laws, vagrancy stop the bus until the fare is paid. A greater percentage of the laws, and the like, which are incorporated into the code of larger agencies instruct their operators to indicate the required conduct. When these laws are violated, bus operators would fare, and about three-quarters of the larger agencies instruct be expected to enforce them and summon the police or super- their bus operators to use their judgment. vision if the passenger does not comply. However, there are other agency rules the violation of which may not be illegal; Comments indicated that, in general, agencies expect the these would be more difficult for the operator to enforce. bus operator to give the patron the benefit of the doubt if it is a first or infrequent offense. However, if the fare evasion be- According to the survey results presented in Figure 6, comes chronic or rampant, the operator is expected to take 81% of the 63 respondents instruct their bus operators to state action. "Bus operators are instructed to remind customers of the rule being violated. Sixty-seven percent instruct their how much the fare is but not to argue with someone who operators to summon supervision, police, or security. That refuses to pay. After the person takes their seat and it is safe the percentage is higher for other-rules enforcement may to do so, call dispatch." "Operators are instructed to ask for imply that there are other rules that are more important than the fare only once and then allow passenger to board without fare enforcement or that agencies do not have an automated further challenge. They are told they may summon transit recording reminding passengers to follow agency rules. Forty- police for chronic repeat offenders." Other agencies provide four percent instruct their operators to use their judgment. specific instructions on what operators might do in specific Less than a third (30%) instruct the operator to ask the pas- circumstances and minimize the amount of judgment that senger to exit the bus. Almost 20% of respondents instruct operators can make, and make more use of supervision than the operator to stop the bus until the violation has ceased. others. One respondent noted that making exceptions angers Note that there are many transit agency rules the violation of other passengers and can provoke aggression against that which is not considered criminal and, therefore, the offender operator. One agency instructs bus operators to contact super- cannot be arrested unless and until the agency has had the vision for assistance if there is a fare dispute, and asks oper- local or state ordinance changed. For the rules violations that ators not to attempt to resolve it on their own. Another agency are already illegal, bus operators are typically required to stop requires the bus operator to contact supervision for permis- operating the bus, ask the passenger to exit, summon super- sion to continue in service if there is a fare evader. One respon- vision or the police, or a combination of these measures. One dent stated that underpayment of the fare is considered to be respondent stated that the operator is encouraged to call tran- accidental. One agency provides fare adjustment envelopes sit police in the event of "disorderly passengers or groups of (containing an IOU or refund slip) to bus operators to give to passengers violating rules." passengers if there is underpayment, no payment, or over- payment; another also allows the operator to make arrange- Agencies noted that the action taken by the bus operator ments for future payment of the fare. Several respondents depends on the rule being violated. A profile participant, Metro noted that their bus operators are required to state the fare but Transit of Madison, Wisconsin, noted that inappropriate con- are not to become involved in fare disputes. duct is grouped into three categories or levels of severity, and