Worcester Regional Transit Authority

508-791-WRTA

WRTA Passenger Code of Conduct Policy

The posted policy is being updated and this version as posted is subject to further updates.  The entire and completed WRTA Code of Conduct Policy is expected to be posted to the website by July, 15, 2019.  Presently, the full policy is available for viewing in the WRTA Hub Lobby.

Purpose

The Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) has established these rules to enhance safety and the customer experience, to facilitate the proper use and conduct on WRTA Property for the purpose of passenger comfort, the protection of passengers and WRTA employees and to assure the payment of fares for the use of the system.

The purpose of this document is to establish the WRTA’s policy and procedures governing passenger conduct on WRTA property and associated limitations on access to WRT A property as a result of violations of this Code of Conduct.

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 security and contracted employees.

Acceptable and Unacceptable Conduct/Use

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 & Property
Soliciting or begging for money or anything of value. Prohibited Prohibited
Displaying or offering for sale, selling, or distributing goods or services. Prohibited Prohibited
Posting or affixing or painting or stamping any sign, notice, circular, handbill, placard, poster, card, advertisement or other device. Prohibited Prohibited
Distributing literature. Prohibited Prohibited
Storing personal property on Buses and/or WRTA Property. Prohibited Prohibited
Unattended items are never allowed on WRTA Property and/or buses. Stored or Unattended items are not the responsibility of the WRT A and may be subject to search Items lost, accidentally left or found on WRTA buses and/or Property are subject to our Lost and Found Policy. Prohibited Prohibited
Transporting animals [except in a closed and secure small container designed for travel that is carried by one person and which can fit under seat or a service animal as defined in 49 CFR Section 37.3]. Prohibited Prohibited
Occupying more than one seat by placing objects, personal property, shoes or feet on adjoining seats. Prohibited Prohibited
Possessing luggage, personal items, and/or or large carts or dollies of a size or quantity that the passenger cannot manage on their own in one trip on or off buses. Prohibited N/A
Skateboarding, roller skating, using a hover board, bicycle riding, or rollerblading or use of another recreational transportation device on WRTA property, system facility, vehicle, or parking structure 1. Prohibited Prohibited
Consuming any food or non-alcoholic beverages, excluding medicine. Prohibited Allowed
Drinking alcohol beverages or possessing open container of the same. Prohibited Prohibited
Gambling including use of shell games, sleight-of-hand or juggling trick or other games to cheat, defraud or unlawfully obtain money or other things of value Prohibited Prohibited
Willfully blocking the free movement of another person in or on WRTA property, including placing objects that block aisles, stairways or seats Prohibited Prohibited
Sleeping or camping on WRTA Property or using WRTA Property for interim shelter or housing and any other uses which are not related to transit and are not otherwise authorized by law or WRTA. 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.

Sleeping or dozing where such activity may interfere with WRTA Services, or the safety or comfort of passenger(s) and/or WRTA employee. Prohibited Prohibited
Loitering (2) within the WRTA bus system or on WRTA Property. Prohibited Prohibited
Possessing items that necessarily because of their size or quantity block entry and exit of passengers and/or movement through aisles and /or access to priority seating for seniors, passengers with disabilities, customers, WRTA employees*. Prohibited N/A
Possessing items that necessarily because of their size or quantity block entry and exit of passengers, block or prohibit access to windows, and/or general movement within a WRTA facility and on the WRTA property, or access to seating, any facility fixtures, or area(s) for the safe and general use or purpose. N/A Prohibited
Extending anything out windows or doors of moving bus or WRTA facilities. Prohibited Prohibited
Smoking, chewing and other tobacco use, including use of all e-cigarettes or any other nicotine delivery devices. Mass Gen Law Ch 270 Sec 22 Prohibited Prohibited
Littering including dumping, depositing, dropping, throwing, discarding, leaving, causing or permitting the dumping, depositing, dropping, throwing, discarding or leaving of litter. Prohibited Prohibited
Possessing items that necessarily because of their size or quantity prevents delays or blocks the anchor point’s securement on wheelchairs. Prohibited N/A
Interfering with WRTA services by tampering with any equipment including but not limited to safety and emergency equipment, emergency alarms and control switches on WRTA Property or impeding the progress of a transit Vehicle or the operations of the facility. Prohibited Prohibited
Using sound-producing devices or equipment or cell phones in speaker mode, (use of headphones is permissible if others cannot hear the output); engaging in conversations loud enough to disturb other passengers, whether in person or via electronic device/cell phone. Prohibited Prohibited
being under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, and/or illegal drugs and/or selling, using, or possessing alcohol, marijuana, and/or illeqal druqs. (MAJOR INFRACTION) Prohibited Prohibited
Spitting, urinating or defecating(3), 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
Displaying or brandishing any instrument, object, and/or material that may be deemed a weapon when used with the intent to threaten, intimidate or harm another person. This would include, but not be limited to, knives, swords, bows & arrows, baseball bats, sling shots or other devices that could shoot projectiles, explosives and explosive chemicals, etc.
(MAJOR INFRACTION)
Prohibited Prohibited
Interfering with the provision of transportation services (i.e., failure to properly board or alight, blocking progress of transit vehicles, disturbing the driver, sleeping or dozing (non- medical), 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, and/or failing to produce identification necessary to use a reduce fare pass (4). (MAJOR INFRACTION) Prohibited Prohibited
Engaging in harassing or bullying behavior, including but not limited to verbal or physical conduct, intimidating or threatening behaviors or acts towards others. This may include, 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 sexual, obscene or abusive language or gestures. Bullying is defined as abusive, repeat conduct that is threatening, humiliating or intimidating. (MAJOR INFRACTION) Prohibited Prohibited

2 With respect to WRTA vehicles, “Loitering” is defined as riding the same bus in excess of one continuous trip and/or remaining within the WRTA bus system for the express purpose of boarding and alighting the same bus and/or other buses for the sole purpose of continuously riding within the system and/or riding  the same bus and/or other buses consecutively with no specific destination and/or riding the same bus or other buses consecutively for the sole purpose of an interim shelter. With respect to WRTA Property, “Loitering” is defined as remaining within a station, waiting room, or terminal, or upon a platform, stairs, grounds or other premises of a public transportation facility, after having been forbidden so to do either by notice posted thereon, or by the person who has the lawful control of said premises.

3  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.

4 In the event that an eligible discount fare rider is not in possession of acceptable proof of identification 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.

* Drivers have discretionary authority to deny service for infractions noted with an “*”.

The above-listing is not intended to 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.

Consequences of Violating this Code of Conduct

In addition to the types of behavior described above, criminal conduct, including but not limited to, assault, disorderly conduct, loitering in transportation facilities, use of marijuana, 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 WRT A 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. 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 employees 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 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 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.

Although the WRTA reserves the right to impose disciplinary sanctions including suspension from bus service as it deems appropriate in any particular situation. The WRTA expressly reserves the right to permanently ban passengers from service for any Major Infraction, including first offenses.

Back to Top