Pioneer Valley Transit Authority
PVTA Passenger Code of Conduct
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Purpose

The purpose of this information is to establish the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) policy and procedures governing passenger conduct on PVTA vehicles and at PVTA Transit Centers as described herein.

Background

Proper passenger behavior on PVTA property is essential for providing quality service to the members of our community and for ensuring safety of all transit patrons and PVTA 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.) “PVTA property” means the vehicles, PVTA owned bus stops, PVTA owned shelters and other public transportation system facilities owned or operated by PVTA.
2.) “PVTA employee” means all duly authorized PVTA 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 PVTA property. Unless otherwise deemed a “Major Infraction” below, behavior will be considered a “Minor Infraction.”

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

Immediate suspension of PVTA service may be affected by a law enforcement officer or any authorized PVTA 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 PVTA service who have been denied service or suspended must petition (either verbally or in writing via PVTA customer feedback) to the Director of Transit Operations in order to resume transit service privileges. The Director of Transit Operations will respond either verbally or in writing within five business days with details of when  the date riding privileges will be reinstated.

For repeat or major offenders, the Director of Transit Operations 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 PVTA 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 PVTA Customer Feedback.  Within ten business days after receiving a request for review, the PVTA 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 PVTA 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.

Table 1. Behaviors Punishable by Suspension
Type of Conduct Transit Vehicle Transit Centers

Displaying or offering for sale, selling, or distributing goods or services.

Prohibited

Prohibited, except by written agreement

Distributing literature.[2]

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 beverages or eating.

Prohibited, except for passengers experiencing a medical emergency

Allowed

Selling, using, or possessing illegal drugs or containers of open alcohol. (MAJOR INFRACTION)

Prohibited

Prohibited

Willfully blocking the free movement of another person in or on PVTA property, including placing objects that block aisles, stairways or seats.

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 or marijuana use, including use of all e-cigarettes, vapors, or any other delivery devices.

Prohibited

Prohibited

Weapons including but not limited to, guns, knives, switchblades, bow and arrows. (MAJOR INFRACTION)

Prohibited, except for those lawfully licensed to carry pursuant to Massachusetts Law

Prohibited, except for those lawfully licensed to carry pursuant to Massachusetts Law

Using sound-producing equipment including inconsiderate cell phone use (use of headphones is permissible if others cannot hear the output).

Prohibited

Prohibited

Spitting, urinating or defecating; or creating unsanitary conditions through presence of blood, urine, feces, vomit, or other bodily fluids or obnoxious odors. (MAJOR INFRACTION)

Prohibited

Prohibited

Carrying an explosive or acid, flammable liquid, toxic or hazardous material in or on PVTA property. (MAJOR INFRACTION)

Prohibited, except for respirators and portable oxygen supply as defined in 49 CFR Section 37.167

Prohibited, except for respirators and portable oxygen supply as defined in 49 CFR Section 37.167

Interfering with the provision of transportation services (i.e., failure to properly board or alight, blocking progress of transit vehicles, disturbing the driver, crossing the yellow line, improper use of priority seating, etc.).

Prohibited

Prohibited

Willfully disturbing others in or on PVTA property by engaging in boisterous, unruly or threatening behavior. (MAJOR INFRACTION)

Prohibited

Prohibited

Defacing, destroying or otherwise vandalizing transit property including any technology,  sign, notices or advertisements thereon. (MAJOR INFRACTION)

Prohibited

Prohibited

Throwing objects at PVTA 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 requested by an authorized PVTA employee, or sharing or reselling passes from one person to another. (MAJOR INFRACTION)

Prohibited

Prohibited

Misrepresenting oneself as eligible for reduced fare[4](MAJOR INFRACTION)

Prohibited

Prohibited

Loitering, no person shall stand, hang around or loiter on or in any PVTA facility, bus shelter, bus stop or vehicle in any way that would prevent others from passing or attempting to pass or whose presence or demeanor could be considered to be threatening, harassing or intimidating. Those using the facility for a period of time greater than 15 minutes before or after a scheduled stop/pickup without a defined transit related purpose will be considered to be loitering Additionally, no person shall engage in any non-transit uses in any facility or vehicle. Non transit uses are noncommercial activities that are not directly related to the use of a facility or vehicle for transportation.

Prohibited

Prohibited

Failure to follow reasonable direction from a PVTA 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, abusive or racist language or gestures. Harassing behavior includes but is not limited to, behavior toward an individual that could be considered offensive based on their gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, pregnancy, ancestry, age, military status, disability, genetic information or any other status protected by law. Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature directed at a person of the same or opposite sex. (MAJOR INFRACTION)

Prohibited

Prohibited

Trespassing defined as any of the following: (1) entering PVTA property after oral or written notice that such entry is forbidden; (2) entering into an area closed to public by gate, fence, wall or other barrier; (3) remaining on PVTA property after receiving oral or written notice from any law enforcement officer or PVTA employee or contractor to depart or (4) entering into the paid area of any PVTA property without paying the required fare. (MAJOR INFRACTION)

Prohibited

Prohibited

 

Table 2. Disciplinary Actions
Type Disciplinary Action Disciplinary Process

(1)   1st Infraction (Minor)

Immediate denial of service

Trip denied

(2)   2nd Infraction (Minor)

Same as (1), plus: possible suspension of service privileges for a period of not to exceed seven days

Petition Director of Transit Operations

(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 [5]

Hearing by PVTA 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 PVTA Administrator and/or designees

 

Table 3. Suspension Return Table
Duration of Suspension / Type of Infraction Required Notice to PVTA Person to Notify at PVTA
3 months or less, minor infractions, or major with no violence or threat of violence None None
Greater than 3 months but not more than 6 months Rider must notify PVTA in writing that they will be returning.* Director of Transit Operations / Designee
Greater than 6 months or any duration if the infraction involves any criminal activity, violent or threatening actions At least thirty days (30) prior to return riders must;
  • Document in writing* steps taken to prevent the behavior from recurring. [6]
  • Demonstrate a reasonable intention to follow the code of conduct. [6]
  • At the discretion of the Director of Transit Operations riders may be required to meet with the Director to discuss conditions for return.
Director of Transit Operations / Designee
* Note: All notifications may be by mailed to:
PVTA Director of Transit Operations
2808 Main Street
Springfield MA 01107

-OR- use the Website Contact Form - Attention Paul Burns.
Foot Notes
[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 PVTA 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 without a determined end destination or remaining on PVTA property for more than two successive hours.

[4] 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 Director of Operations or Customer Service 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.

[5] PVTA reserves the right to suspend a passenger for periods of time longer than those listed, up to and including permanently banning passengers from service, for any major infraction or repeated major infractions.

[6] Documentation / Demonstration may include documentation of accessing appropriate medical services, resuming medication, seeking counseling or other appropriate services that could reasonably be assumed to be effective.