Whatcom Transportation Authority
Rider Suspension Policy
Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) is committed to providing quality public transportation within the WTA's Service Area. There are times when a transit customer or WTA facilities users behavior seriously disrupts or endangers the health and safety of our employees and other members of the transit-using public. When this happens, WTA service and/or access to WTA facilities may be denied to those individuals.
CRITERIA for DENIAL of SERVICE and/or Removal
from COACH or transit Stations/facilities
The following conduct will subject a WTA customer or facilities user to immediate removal from a coach and/or transit facility:
1. Verbal or physical abuse of WTA employees or customers, or damage to equipment or property.
2. Behavior which presents a danger to the health or safety of the offending customer, other customers, or a WTA employee. Such behavior includes conduct which is violent, seriously disruptive, or illegal as defined in Washington State RCW 9.91.025.
3. Urinating, defecating, vomiting, or inappropriate discharge of bodily fluids on transit property.
v Failure to observe posted “on-Board” WTA Rules of The Road *.
4. Soliciting, advertising, selling or distributing goods or services, except as authorized by WTA or its agents.
5. Sexually harassing any WTA employee or customer.
6. Indecent Exposure or activity on WTA property.
7. Demonstrated pattern of no-shows on the WTA Paratransit system. The "No Show Policy” under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990" outlines separate procedures to be undertaken in that instance.
v On-Board Rules of the Road include: No smoking, no unruly or disrespectful behavior, including profanity, no eating, no alcoholic beverages (non-alcoholic beverahges OK if covered by a lid or top), limited use of all electronic devices (including cell phones) so as to not disturb other riders or the WTA Operator, and no flammable items on board or on the bike rack.
8. Inability to care for themselves, including temporary inability due to illness or intoxication (alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicating substances), resulting in disruptive behavior which interferes with the safe and smooth operation of the system. Such customers may be reseated, refused service, or removed from WTA vehicles or facilities at the discretion of WTA.
9. Any conduct that is prohibited on WTA vehicles, in accordance with Washington State RCW 9.91.025, including the following:
a. Smoking or carrying a lighted or smoldering pipe, cigar, cigarette, or using any tobacco products on WTA properties not designated as tobacco use areas.
b. Discarding litter other than in designated receptacles.
c. Playing any radio, recorder, or other sound-producing equipment that does not limit sound to individual listener or interferes with communication devices by WTA employees or public safety officers in the line of duty; or, the use of private communication devices such as pagers or portable telephones in a similarly interfering manner.
d. Spitting or expectorating.
e. Carrying any flammable liquid, explosive, acid or other article or material likely to cause harm to others. Persons are permitted to carry cigarette lighters or firearms and ammunition in a way that is not otherwise prohibited by law.
f. Intentionally obstructing or impeding the flow of transit vehicles or passenger traffic; hindering or preventing access to transit vehicles or stations; or unlawfully interfering with the provision or use of public transportation services.
g. Intentionally disturbing others by engaging in loud, raucous, unruly, or harassing behavior that is harmful and/or intimidating to others.
h. Destroying, defacing, stealing, or otherwise damaging property of WTA.
i. Carrying any open container of alcohol, controlled substances, guns, knives, or other devices that are weapons or apparently capable of use as weapons unless authorized by law.
j. Violation of any federal, state, county or local criminal law.
k. Engages in other conduct that is inconsistent with the intended use and purpose of the transit facility, transit stations, or transit vehicle and refuses to obey the lawful commands of an agent of the transit authority or a peace officer to cease such conduct.
General Incident Protocol
The following are the general procedures and protocol that WTA will follow in enforcing these rules:
1. WTA representatives or its agents will encourage respect and good behavior from persons in all WTA vehicles and facilities. Customers who undertake or participate in any conduct set out in Section A will be requested to cease the misbehavior and be warned that if the behavior continues, s/he will be asked to leave the bus, Transit Station or other WTA facility. This will be done politely, discreetly, and quickly.
2. If the customer refuses to leave, a Supervisor and/or law enforcement officer may be contacted immediately to evict him/her from the coach, Transit Station or other WTA facility. No person shall be removed forcibly from WTA vehicles or facilities without the assistance of law enforcement or a Supervisor, except in self-defense.
3. When a customer is removed from a vehicle, s/he will be discharged at a bus stop or at a location where the customer is unlikely to be injured or endangered. If the Operator or other passengers are in imminent danger, immediate discharge is appropriate. Operators are expected to exercise best judgment in these circumstances. Dispatch must be notified immediately by the Operator if they put someone off the bus, and give the location. Dispatchers must place this information in the Dispatch log.
4. WTA personnel will carefully and completely document all suspensions and provide written reports to the immediate Supervisor and the Director of Operations.
5. If the customer has a cognitive or physical disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), every effort will be made to evaluate whether the incident was caused by his/her disability and if accommodations can be made to allow that customer continued access to WTA services. The WTA will take the customer's disability into consideration when determining the actions to be taken. Ongoing service may be provided conditionally if an attendant accompanies the customer and this will prevent further customer conduct that violates these rules.
6. WTA reserves the right to immediately refuse all WTA services to a person when necessary to protect the health and safety of other customers or WTA employees, regardless of the progressive steps of suspension reflected in WTA policies when the actions involve violent, illegal, or seriously disruptive behavior. In such cases, a suspension notice may be issued immediately by a law enforcement officer or WTA Supervisor.
7. Only WTA Supervisors and/or law enforcement officials are empowered to suspend a customer from WTA service.
Procedures for Service Denial and/or Suspension
There are two “tracks” of procedures for denying or suspending service:
1. Minor Infraction: defined as behavior which is prohibited by Section A, but is minor in nature, and for which it is believed that it can or will be corrected. A single day service denial should be the general suspension.
a) Operators needing to remove a customer for unlawful bus conduct as defined in Section A shall notify Dispatch immediately of a minor infraction. No Operator will refuse service to a customer past the day of the problem for which he/she was removed from the bus or facility without prior approval from a Supervisor.
b) A customer will not be denied access to other parts of the system on the day of the incident unless there are extenuating circumstances. A decision to limit service on that day to other parts of the system will be made by a Supervisor only.
c) Operators shall report single incidents when service has been denied on Operator’s Notes Form. Patterns of minor infractions thus documented may be evaluated for further action, including warning of suspension or outright suspension from WTA service under the procedures of Section 2 below.
2. Serious Infraction: defined as violent, illegal, or seriously disruptive behavior, or a pattern of minor infractions leading up to or requiring ongoing suspension of service.
a) Whenever possible, upon the occurrence of a Serious Infraction, Supervisors will complete a Service Suspension Notice and give it to the offending person as s/he is removed from the bus or facility. If the person is suspended from service, the Supervisor will indicate the suspension end date b) on the notice. It is recognized that in some cases, the offending person may not accept the notice, and, if arrested, not be available to receive this document.
b) Severe incidents, such as assaulting an Operator or customer, will warrant a suspension for an indefinite period of time.
c) If law enforcement officials have removed a customer from the system, WTA Supervisors will make a reasonable effort to formally notify this customer/trespassed person of the terms of the suspension and right to appeal.
d) If a customer has been issued a verbal warning of future suspension and the behavior recurs, WTA Supervisors will officially notify the customer/trespassed person that WTA will not provide transportation to him/her for a specified period of time.
e) Supervisory Staff will inform Expediters, Dispatch, and Operators and regarding service suspension.
3. Appeal Process
a) The Service Suspension Notice submitted to a trespassed person notifies them of their right to appeal the decision to the Director of Operations or his/her designee. Notice of Appeal responses can also be mailed to 4111 Bakerview Spur, Bellingham, WA 98226. ATTEN : Director of Operations.
b) The trespassed person may request a Review of Appeal. A review may be requested based on a written statement or phone interview outlining the reasons why the suspension should be revoked. If requested, the phone interview/ Review of Appeal shall be held by the Director of Operations or his/her designee as soon as practicable.
c) Following the Review of Appeal, the Director of Operations or his/her designee shall render a decision as soon as practicable after receipt of the Notice of Appeal or the completion of the review. The decision may be conveyed to the trespassed person in writing or via phone depending of their accessibility.
d) WTA will not provide service to the trespassed person pending resolution of the Appeal.
4. Resumption of Service
a) Upon expiration of the suspension period or revocation of the suspension, the trespassed person may be required to enter into a contract (see "Transit Use Agreement") with WTA outlining appropriate behaviors prior to resumption of service. It is the trespassed persons responsibility, or someone acting on his/her behalf, to contact the Director of Operations to request a meeting prior to resumption of service. The Transit Use Agreement will be completed at that time.
b) Trespassed persons who receive an “until further notice pending appeal and review” suspension shall be entitled to request a review by phone prior to reinstatement. The trespassed person and WTA must agree to terms and conditions regarding resumption of service.
c) A decision to grant resumption of service may be contingent on:
· Completion of the Transit Use Agreement, and
· Demonstrated corrective behavior or an ability to act in conformity with these
d) After resumption of service, if the trespassed person exhibits behavior that is prohibited by Section A, the original suspension shall be immediately reinstated and a new suspension period imposed.
e) The Director of Operations will notify the Safety & Security Officer, who will in turn notify WTA Expediters, Operators, Operations Supervisors, Dispatch, and in some cases, the Bellingham Police Department (Records) regarding the resumption of service. In some cases, when deemed appropriate, the assigned Bellingham Police Transit Officer will also be notified. This will be done by the WTA Safety & Secirity Officer.
f) A reinstated suspension may be appealed under the provisions of Section C(3) Procedures for Service Denial and/or Suspension.