The new ordinance is being proposed eight months after the TriMet Board approved a change to the Code that increased penalties for spitting on operators.  -  Photo: TriMet

The new ordinance is being proposed eight months after the TriMet Board approved a change to the Code that increased penalties for spitting on operators.

Photo: TriMet

TriMet recently announced newly proposed changes to its TriMet Code that would strengthen the agency's ability to help keep riders and employees safe, according to its news release.

Brought before TriMet’s board on Oct. 26, for its first reading and public hearing, Ordinance 369 would amend the Code — the rules for operating and riding TriMet — to authorize the general manager to impose stiffer penalties for prohibited conduct on the transit system. The ordinance addresses behavior-based conduct only and does not change penalties for fare evasion, according to TriMet.

The amendments to the Code would expand the types of offenses that could result in long-term exclusions, those that stretch from six months to a lifetime ban. While felonies already fall under the scope of our current long-term exclusion policy, Ordinance 369 would also permit those types of exclusions for attempted felonies and Class A misdemeanors.

The new ordinance is being proposed eight months after the TriMet board approved a change to the Code that increased penalties for spitting on operators. TriMet said this is part of a larger effort to make it safer to work on and ride the transit system while addressing issues to improve the customer experience.

“With the challenges happening in the community today, issues such as vandalism, crime, drug use, and mental health are at a tipping point and, at times, spill over onto the transit system, despite agency efforts,” said Bonnie Todd, TriMet COO. “TriMet is working on a strategy to better address inappropriate behavior on the system, better support our operators and other employees, improve the cleanliness of our vehicles and property, and pursue coordinated efforts with external partners to address social issues and ensure safe access to transit.”

Ordinance 369 would make three principal changes to TriMet’s Code:

  • The most serious misdemeanors would be covered under TriMet’s definition of “serious physical offense."
  • Remove distinctions between first and second offenses.
  • Further address chronic offenders.

Overall, TriMet said that Ordinance 369 would be one more way for the agency to exert further accountability measures to improve the customer experience and protect employees.

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