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Responses to Question: Passenger Assaults on Bus Operator


SWTA had a request from a transit agency to get ideas about how to handle a problem.

Here is what the agency said origionally: “We have a fixed route passenger who assaults bus operators who try to secure her wheelchair. She is aware that our posted policy is that all wheelchairs must be secured.

I have two questions:
1) Do you have a passenger code of conduct for your fixed route service that you can share?
2) For conduct of this sort, do you have a suspension policy during which she would be unable to ride our fixed route bus service?

We realize that our bus operator has the option to press assault changes. Our system does not (yet) have on-board video, but this time we have a witness.”

See responses below.

Member Responses:

William Cartwright, General Manager of Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority: “In Tulsa we suspend service for any passenger who assaults a bus operator. Since it is a fixed route service however these service suspensions are sometimes difficult to enforce. If a bus operator does not recognize the suspended passenger he may allow that person to ride. Here is a link to our website page that has our passenger ‘Rules of the road’. http://tulsatransit.org/riding-the-bus/how-to-ride/

Sean T. Spell, Director of Operations at Lawton Area Transit System: “A fellow transit operator sent this to me. This may help. - SEE PDF BELOW: Rules of Conduct and Exclusion Procedure

Kerry Legg, Vehicle Safety & Regulatory Compliance Manager for New Flyer Industries Canada ULC: “The details of the event (or events) should be shared with the FTA, with a request for advice on how to deal respectfully with this issue. In that way, whatever plan of action you take with this specific patron, you will have the backing you require should she file complaints to the FTA or initiate litigation. Linda Ford is (or was) the Acting Director of the Office of Civil Rights with the FTA. (202) 366-1674/linda.ford@dot.gov

John M. Cassidy, General Counsel for Topeka Metro: “1) Do you have a passenger code of conduct for your fixed route service that you can share? The following is prohibited on Topeka Metro buses - Physical or verbal abuse of the operator, another passenger or any transit employee. Also prohibited are: Disorderly, abusive, dangerous, obscene, or threatening behavior or language. Unruly behavior, profanity, fighting, spitting, feet on the seats, or littering. Here is a link to the complete list of Topeka Metro passenger rules of conduct (http://www.topekametro.org/riding/passenger-rules). 2) For conduct of this sort, do you have a suspension policy during which she would be unable to ride our fixed route bus service? Topeka Metro suspension (ban) policy leaves discretion with the agency in terms of when and for how long to suspend (ban) a rider. The first suspension in a circumstance like this would typically be on the short side, like a warning shot. A subsequent ban for the same conduct would be considerably longer. All suspensions, including bans with a set term or length, are subject to review and reinstatement of rider privileges upon request and proper showing by the rider. The rider usually has to show a change in circumstance or other reason to believe the offensive conduct will not be repeated.”

States

Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas

Downloads

Rules of Conduct and Exclusion Procedure
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