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58 CHAPTER SIX OPERATOR PROTECTION MEASURES: AGENCY POLICIES AND LEGISLATION Agency policies and legislation can be effective in mitigating Montgomery County Transit in Maryland; Las Vegas RTC; operator assaults. Suspension-of-service policies against those Pierce Transit; SUN METRO in El Paso, Texas; and the who assault operators and violate agency rules serve to ex- Edmonton Transit System in Canada. These were reported to clude dangerous individuals from using the system and may be effective in reducing repeat offenders. The transit agencies deter potential criminals or rules violators from committing worked with their municipalities to adopt laws that enable them criminal acts. These policies may require changes to state to exclude individuals who violate their fare payment and other and/or municipal laws so that those who have been excluded policies or codes of conduct. Any excluded individual who from the system would be legally prevented as well from attempts to board a bus would be considered trespassing on using the system. Although passing new legislation can take agency property. This policy deters potential offenders through time and effort, agencies that have participated in such efforts the threat of not being allowed onto the transit system. Other believe that it is a worthwhile initiative. Legislation for en- agencies, such as CATS in Charlotte, North Carolina, have hanced penalties for operator assaults has been enacted in established ordinances that prohibit violations of agency rules. almost half of U.S. states. Workplace violence policies establish the importance of addressing and eradicating all types of work- Advantages place violence and put in place good response and reporting practices as well as a comprehensive interdepartmental support · Bus operator perspective--increased perception of secu- system to provide helpful resources to workplace violence vic- rity and management support for operators; lets bus ope- tims. Fare payment policies contribute to disputes between rators know that management is serious about their operators and passengers, and these disputes can lead to oper- security. ator assaults. Fare enforcement issues were cited as a leading · Customer perspective--lets customers know that the contributor to operator assaults by survey respondents. In cases agency is serious about security and might not allow where the fare payment process occurs off-board the transit violations of their codes of conduct. vehicle, or the fare payment process is not otherwise identified · Does not require significant investments in equipment with the operator, operator assaults caused by fare disputes are or security personnel. minimal. BRT systems are the prime example of this prac- tice. Employee assistance and trained supervisors are help- ful to victims of assaults, and mitigate the negative impact of Disadvantages the assaults on the employee and his or her coworkers. Pas- · Agency perspective--agency needs to change the senger outreach initiatives can deter assaults and make the municipal or provincial ordinance to introduce legisla- public and passengers more aware of incidents against opera- tion stating that an individual violating an agency's tors and the agency's commitment and support of its employ- code of conduct might be banned from accessing the ees. School and community outreach programs are also believed transit system for X days. This may take time and effort. to be useful as a longer-term method to protect operators · Without support of legal system and prosecutors in ensur- against violence. As a reminder, the definition of assault used ing that offenders who try to access the system might be in this study is: Overt physical and verbal acts by a passenger charged, the policy may not be effective. that interfere with the mission of a bus operator--which is to · Larger systems may have difficulty enforcing the pol- complete the scheduled run safely--and that adversely affect icy because identifying the banned individuals could be the safety of the operator and customers. problematic. SUSPENSION-OF-SERVICE POLICY Agency Experience Suspensions of service or passenger bans demonstrate the Capital District Transportation Authority, agency's commitment to improving the security of bus service. Albany, New York These suspension-of-service policies have been implemented at agencies such as Capital District Transportation Authority CDTA instituted a suspension-of-service policy for patrons in Albany, New York; Metro Transit in Madison, Wisconsin; on CDTA buses and facilities in April 2009. New York State
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59 legislation 21 NYCRR 5300 states that the "provisions of disruptive, harassing, threatening or injurious to transit em- section 1307(4) of the Public Authorities Law provide CDTA ployees." An individual may be excluded from Metro Tran- and its subsidiaries with power to make rules and regulations sit services even if he or she is not charged or convicted. If an governing the conduct and safety of the public in the use and individual who has received an exclusion order boards a operation of the transit facilities of the authority and its sub- bus, the individual will be subject to arrest for trespassing sidiaries." When an individual violates CDTA Rules of Con- under Madison City Ordinance 23.07 (2). The entire text of duct or the laws of New York State, the bus operator, super- the rule can be found on Metro Transit's website at: http:// visor, or other CDTA employee or law enforcement officer www.cityofmadison.com/metro/HowToRide/TransitExclu- has the authority to enforce this policy. No court order is re- sionPolicy/TransitExclusionPolicy.htm. Inappropriate conduct quired because the suspension policy is allowed by state law. is grouped into the following three categories: Violators who violate the suspension are subject to trespass- ing charges. Twenty persons have been suspended by CDTA · Level I inappropriate conduct includes willfully refus- so far, and not one of them has been found to have violated ing to pay a fare or show specific fare media to the oper- the terms of their suspension, which may be attributed to the ator, eating or drinking, having distracting conversa- establishment of the CDTA Suspension-of Service-program. tions with the bus operator, and otherwise disorderly or Prosecution of offenders became easier for CDTA after the inappropriate conduct. For these behaviors, a warning Rules of Conduct was legislated into state law. The program, is provided by the operator. If further warnings are re- especially in combination with the enhanced NYS penalties, quired, a supervisor may be called to the scene. If the sends a strong message to the public that CDTA does not tol- supervisor asks the passenger to leave the bus and he or erate offenses. Furthermore, this legislation demonstrates she refuses, the passenger is subject to arrest and pros- CDTA's commitment to the safety of its employees. Fines ecution for trespassing and/or disorderly conduct. Con- and penalties include ejection from the facility or convey- tinuous infractions may result in exclusion for at least ance at the time of the violation and/or criminal prosecution 7 days and a maximum of 6 months. for trespass and/or the violation, in the criminal court of the · Level II inappropriate conduct includes fighting, bring- jurisdiction where the violation occurs. The complete policy, ing on board dangerous items such as weapons, threat- rules, and procedures are included in Appendix A of this ening behaviors, and drinking or possessing open con- Synthesis report. tainers of alcoholic beverages. For level II violations, the operator or supervisor can tell the individual to The CDTA Rules of Conduct are similar to those of many leave the bus immediately, and call for police assistance transit systems. The rules include fare payment, no assaults when necessary. or other interferences against the operator, no vandalism, no · Level III inappropriate conduct or emergency situations alcohol consumption, and no smoking. Bus operators initially is the most serious level and includes assault or threat of attempt to enforce the suspension by asking the suspended assault, use of counterfeit or stolen fare media, obstruct- individual to leave the bus; if the individual fails to do so, the ing or interfering with the operator's safe operation of police are called, and he or she may be arrested. CDTA mails the bus, indecent exposure, and lighting an incendiary the individual a notice and the duration of suspension, rule or device, including a match. The operator is authorized to law violated, and an explanation of CDTA's internal review request police assistance in these cases. and hearing process. Barring a successful appeal, the suspen- sion becomes effective. The time period of the suspension Once it is determined that an individual should be excluded varies based on the number of violations within a 5-year period: from transit services, the transit service manager issues a writ- a 7-day suspension for the first violation, 30 days for the sec- ten exclusion letter that includes a description of the appeals ond violation, 90 days for the third violation, and 180 days process. for each successive violation. Montgomery County Transit, Madison Metro Transit System, Montgomery County, Maryland Madison, Wisconsin Montgomery County Transit's Disruptive Behavior policy is Metro Transit's Rules of Conduct and Inappropriate Conduct believed to discourage repeat violations of agency rules. Indi- Transit Exclusion Procedure was adopted on July 12, 2005, viduals who violate the disruptive behavior rule by engaging and prohibits individuals from engaging in inappropriate in prohibited behavior are subject to a 90-day suspension of conduct on buses and other facilities. Individuals who do en- service and/or fines or imprisonment for up to 6 months. Pro- gage in "repeated or serious incidents of inappropriate con- hibited behaviors include interfering with the operation of the duct" can be excluded from Metro's services. Inappropriate vehicle, eating/drinking/smoking, fighting, spitting, yelling, activity is defined as any activity "disruptive or injurious to threatening the driver or others on board, tossing or throwing other individuals lawfully using Metro facilities or services; articles or projectiles, and unwanted touching or conversation damaging or destructive to transit facilities or services; or with another passenger. The exclusion is enforced by transit
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60 4. Operate any radio, cassette recorder, or any such device, except where such device is connected to an earphone that limits the sound emitted therefrom to the individual user; 5. Carry, possess, or allow to be kept any flammable or combustible liquids, explosives, acids, live animals, birds or reptiles, or any item inherently dangerous or offensive; provided, that this prohibition shall not apply to seeing-eye dogs properly harnessed and accompanied by a blind passenger; 6. Stand in front of any white line marked on the forward end of the floor of any such vehicle, or otherwise obstruct the view of the operator thereof; 7. Board any such vehicle through any rear-exit door, FIGURE 30 Montgomery County Transit's suspension of service unless so directed or authorized by the operator; policy signage. (Courtesy: Montgomery County Transit.) 8. Fail or refuse upon request of the operator to move further back in the vehicle so as to make room for other passengers in the front; and supervision with assistance from local law enforcement when 9. Use loud or abusive language toward passengers or the needed. The policy signage, shown in Figure 30, is displayed operator, which interferes with the safe operation of in Montgomery County buses. the vehicle. SUN METRO's Reinstatement Policy contains a provi- Pierce Transit, Lakewood, Washington sion for individuals to appeal refusal-of-service decisions. Pierce Transit's Passenger Exclusion Program has been estab- The provision requires a written statement containing the fol- lished as a means to modify behavior that is unacceptable in lowing: reason(s) for restoration of use of service; commen- the transit environment. In addition to being arrested (if the tary explaining why the event(s) that led to being refused behavior is criminal), the individual causing the disruption service may now be disregarded going forward; commitment in writing that the event(s) in question will not happen again. is also served with an exclusion order that lasts no less than Also required is a restitution for any damage or harm result- 90 days. The exclusion may be permanent if the act is violent. ing from the event(s) that led to the refusal of service as well The program also has an appeals process that allows for due as an acknowledgement that should another event result in process. Pierce Transit has issued 3,000 exclusion orders since refusal of service, a lifetime ban from use of SUN METRO the program's inception and maintains a recidivism rate of less Transit services will be imposed. The provision letter notes than 2%. Periodic enforcement operations targeting rules vio- that "our Operators are recognized as the passengers' great- lators are performed. In fall 2009, for instance, a 3-week est and immediately available asset; and as such, our Coach enforcement operations called "not on our bus" focused on bus Operators should be treated with courtesy and respect. . . ." routes, bus stops, and transit centers near high schools. Offi- cers conducted spot checks, and violators of agency rules were subject to immediate exclusion from Pierce Transit services Edmonton Transit System (ETS), Alberta, Canada for at least 90 days. As part of the ETS zero tolerance policy that began in late 2009, 125 individuals have been banned from ETS for fare SUN METRO, El Paso, Texas evasion and other rules violations. Repeat offenders receive a 1-year ban. Their photos, obtained from the CCTV cameras SUN METRO has had their refusal-of-service policy in place on buses, are provided to all bus operators and ETS peace for at least 20 years. The Passenger Rules ordinance states officers. Although Edmonton police are very cooperative and "an operator may refuse to transport any person whose ob- ETS Security has developed the Trespasser Tracker applica- served conduct or behavior constitutes a violation of this sec- tion to help officers track and locate frequent offenders, this tion." SUN METRO's Passenger Rules state that the follow- ban has been difficult to enforce. ing acts on board a bus or streetcar transporting passengers are considered illegal: Charlotte Area Transit System, 1. Smoke or carry any lighted or smoldering pipe, cigar, Charlotte, North Carolina or cigarette in or upon any such vehicle; 2. Consume food or drink in or upon any such vehicle; Although CATS does not have a suspension-of-service pol- 3. Discard, throw, or place any litter or trash in or upon icy, it instituted a change in the municipal law to prohibit any such vehicle; inappropriate acts on their transit buses and light-rail vehi-