Worcester Regional Transit Authority

508-791-WRTA

WRTA Passenger Code of Conduct Policy

Purpose

The purpose of this document is to establish the Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) policy and procedures governing passenger conduct on WRTA property and associated limitations on access to WRTA property as a result of infractions of acceptable conduct as described herein.

Background

Proper passenger behavior on WRTA property is essential for providing quality service to the members of our community and for ensuring safety of all transit patrons and WRTA employees. Establishing a passenger code of conduct and an associated disciplinary process is a necessary component to maintain the existing high levels of service for all transit patrons.

Definitions

  1. “WRTA property” means the vehicles, WRTA owned bus stops, WRTA owned shelters and other public transportation system facilities owned or operated by WRTA.
  2. “WRTA employee” means all duly authorized WRTA staff members, including drivers, supervisors, managers and contracted employees.

Behavior Punishable By Suspension

Table 1 lists activities and descriptions of behaviors that are either expressly prohibited or allowed on WRTA property. Unless otherwise deemed a “Major Infraction” below,  behavior will be considered a “Minor Infraction.”

Type of Conduct Transit Vehicle Hub Facility
Displaying or offering for sale, selling, or distributing goods or services. Prohibited Prohibited, except by written agreement
Distributing literature. Prohibited Prohibited, except by written agreement
Posting or affixing leaflets or signs to transit property. Prohibited Prohibited
Transporting animals. Prohibited, except in a secure carrier, or a service animal as defined in 49 CFR Section 37.3 Prohibited, except in a secure carrier, or a service animal as defined in 49 CFR Section 37.3
Skateboarding, roller skating, bicycle riding, or rollerblading in a system facility, vehicle, or parking structure[1]. Prohibited Prohibited
Drinking non-alcoholic beverages or eating. Prohibited, except drinking from a container with an attached lid designed to prevent spillage when held upside down Allowed
Being under the influence of alcohol and/or illegal drugs and selling, using, or possessing alcohol and/or illegal drugs. (MAJOR INFRACTION) Prohibited Prohibited
Willfully blocking the free movement of another person in or on WRTA property, including placing objects that block aisles, stairways or seats[2]. Prohibited, except at driver’s discretion if space allows; strollers and shopping carts must be folded prior to boarding N/A
Loitering or storing personal property[3]. Prohibited Prohibited
Extending anything out windows or doors of moving bus. Prohibited N/A
Hanging off or swinging from bars or stanchions (except when standing-only conditions apply). Prohibited Prohibited
Smoking, chewing and other tobacco use, including use of all e-cigarettes or any other nicotine delivery devices. Prohibited Prohibited
Littering. Prohibited Prohibited
Using sound-producing equipment (use of headphones is permissible if others cannot hear the output). Prohibited Prohibited
Spitting, urinating or defecating[4]; or creating unsanitary conditions through presence of blood, urine, feces, vomit, or other bodily fluids. (MAJOR INFRACTION) Prohibited Prohibited
Carrying an explosive or acid, flammable liquid, toxic or hazardous material in or on WRTA property. (MAJOR INFRACTION) Prohibited Prohibited

[1] This paragraph does not apply to any activity that is necessary for utilization of the transit facility by a bicyclist, including but not limited to, an activity that is necessary for parking a bicycle or transporting a bicycle aboard a transit vehicle, if that activity is conducted with the permission of the WRTA in a manner that does not interfere with the safety of the bicyclist or other patrons of the transit facility.

[2] This paragraph shall not be interpreted to affect any lawful activities permitted for first amendment rights protected under the laws of this state or applicable federal law, including, but not limited to, laws related to collective bargaining, labor relations, or labor disputes.

[3] Loitering is defined as riding the same bus in excess of one continuous trip or remaining on WRTA property for more than two successive hours.

[4] This paragraph shall not apply to a person who cannot comply with this paragraph as a result of a disability, age, or a medical condition.

Interfering with the provision of transportation services (i.e., failure to properly board or alight, blocking progress of transit vehicles, disturbing the driver, etc.). Prohibited Prohibited
Willfully disturbing others in or on WRTA property by engaging in boisterous, unruly or threatening behavior. (MAJOR INFRACTION) Prohibited Prohibited
Defacing, destroying or otherwise vandalizing transit property or any sign, notices or advertisements thereon. (MAJOR INFRACTION) Prohibited Prohibited
Throwing objects at WRTA property or at persons in or on transit property. (MAJOR INFRACTION) Prohibited Prohibited
Failure to pay the appropriate fare or present a valid pass, or failure to surrender an invalid pass if demanded by an authorized WRTA employee, or sharing or reselling passes from one person to another. (MAJOR INFRACTION) Prohibited Prohibited
Misrepresenting oneself as eligible for reduced fare[1](MAJOR INFRACTION) Prohibited Prohibited
Failure to follow lawful direction from a WRTA employee. Prohibited Prohibited
Sexually, verbally, or physically harassing, intimidating, or threatening others: this includes, but is not limited to, behavior such as stalking, staring, or lurking with intent to annoy, offensive touching, obscene acts, and indecent exposure.  This also may include, but is not limited to, the use of obscene or abusive language or gestures. (MAJOR INFRACTION) Prohibited Prohibited

Consequences of Violating Code of Conduct

In addition to the types of behavior which could result in suspension described above, criminal conduct, including but not limited to, assault, disorderly conduct, and illegal drug use, are prohibited on all WRTA property. If any criminal conduct is observed, the WRTA will contact the local law enforcement department within the jurisdiction in which the offense has occurred.

In addition to civil and criminal penalties, violators of the WRTA Code of Conduct policies and/or any other applicable laws may be subject to immediate denial of WRTA service and possible suspension of WRTA service in the future as described in Table 2 below. Additionally, the WRTA reserves the right to seek an immediate restraining order against accused violators deemed by the Director of Operations and/or Operations Supervisor to pose a legitimate threat to the safety or welfare of WRTA staff or riders.

Immediate suspension of WRTA service may be affected by a law enforcement officer or any authorized WRTA employee. Failure to comply with denial of service or suspension of service shall be grounds for criminal trespass prosecution. For initial minor infractions, patrons of WRTA service who have been denied service or suspended must petition (either verbally or in writing via WRTA customer feedback) to the Director of Operations and/or Operations Supervisor in order to resume transit service privileges. The Director of Operations and/or Operations Supervisor will respond either verbally or in writing within five business days with details of the date riding privileges will be reinstated.

For repeat or major offenders, the Director of Operations and/or Operations Supervisor shall issue a verbal and written notice stating the cause and duration of the suspension and the process for requesting review. Suspension shall be in effect upon issuance of the notice and shall remain in effect during any review process.

Within ten business days after issuance of a service suspension notice, the offender may deliver to the WRTA Administrator a verbal or written request for review of the suspension and an opportunity to present reasons for reconsideration of the suspension. All requests for review must be submitted via WRTA Customer Feedback.  Within ten business days after receiving a request for review, the WRTA Administrator and/or designees shall set up a telephonic or in person hearing to review service suspension decision with the offender. The hearing shall be held within ten business days following the request for a hearing. The WRTA Administrator and/or designees then shall decide to affirm or reverse the suspension within ten days following the hearing. The post-hearing decision shall be final.

Disciplinary Actions

Type Disciplinary Action Disciplinary Process
(1)   1st Infraction (Minor) Immediate denial of service Petition Director of Operations and or Operations Supervisor
(2)   2nd Infraction (Minor) Same as (1), plus: suspension of service privileges for a period of not to exceed seven days Petition Director of  Operations and or Operations Supervisor
(3)   3rd Infraction (Minor) or 1st Infraction (Major) Same as (1), plus: suspension of service privileges for no less than seven days and no longer than 30 days[i] Hearing by WRTA Administrator and/or designees
(4)   4th or greater Infraction (Minor), 2nd or greater Infraction (Major), or criminal behavior Same as (1), plus: suspension of service privileges for 180 calendar days Hearing by WRTA Administrator and/or designees

[1] In the event that an eligible discount fare rider is not in possession of acceptable proof at the time of request, any suspension of service shall be postponed for a period of 72 hours to allow the user to produce acceptable proof to the RTA Operations Manager. If the proof is provided, the suspension shall be voided. If the proof is not produced within that time period, the suspension will be enforced.

[i] WRTA reserves the right to permanently ban passengers from service for any major infraction.


Print pagePDF pageEmail page
Back to Top