Passenger Code of Conduct Policy

Adopted 3/7/13Codigo de Conducta

Article I, Purpose

Behavior on transit property is governed by California Penal Code 640 and other statutes. The purpose of this document is to establish the San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority (RTA) policy and procedures governing passenger conduct on RTA property and associated limitations on access to RTA property as a result of infractions of acceptable conduct as described herein.

Article II, Background

RTA is the intercity fixed route and demand response public transit service provider in San Luis Obispo County. RTA is a qualified Federal Transit Administration grantee, and works closely with the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments to plan for Federally-funded public transit services in the region. RTA’s role as a public agency is to treat all citizens, groups, and political jurisdictions equally.

Proper passenger behavior on RTA property is essential for providing quality service to the members of our community and for ensuring safety for all transit patrons and RTA 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.

RTA is governed by its 12-member Board of Directors, comprised of the five San Luis Obispo County Supervisors and elected officials from Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Grover Beach, Morro Bay, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo. The Board is charged with budget-making and policy development responsibilities.

Article III, Definitions

  1. “RTA property” means the vehicles, bus stops and other public transportation system facilities owned, leased or operated by RTA. “Public transportation system” is defined by Section 99211 of the Public Utilities Code.
  2. “RTA employee” means all duly authorized RTA staff members, including drivers, supervisors, managers and contracted employees.

Article IV, Suspendable Behavior

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

Table 1 – RTA Passenger Code of Conduct

Type of Conduct Transit Vehicles Passenger Facilities
(1) Displaying or offering for sale, selling, or distributing goods or services. Prohibited, except by written agreement Prohibited, except by written agreement
(2) Distributing literature. Prohibited Prohibited
(3) Posting or affixing leaflets or signs to transit property. Prohibited Prohibited
(4) Performing instrumental/vocal music. Prohibited Allowed
(5) Transporting animals. Prohibited, except in a secure container, or a service animal as defined in 49 CFR Section 37.3. Service animals must be on a leash and on the floor or in a riders lap. Prohibited, except in a secure container, or a service animal as defined in 49 CFR Section 37.3
(6) Skateboarding, roller skating, bicycle riding, or rollerblading in a system facility, vehicle, or parking structure1. Prohibited Prohibited
(7) 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
(8) Drinking alcoholic beverage or possessing an open container of same. (MAJOR INFRACTION) Prohibited Prohibited
(9) Willfully blocking the free movement of another person in or on RTA property, including placing objects that block aisles, stairways or seats2. Prohibited, except at driver’s discretion if space allows; strollers must be folded prior to boarding N/A
(10) Loitering or storing personal property3. Prohibited Prohibited
(11) Extending anything out windows or doors of moving bus. Prohibited N/A
(12) Hanging off or swinging from bars or stanchions (except when standing-only conditions apply). Prohibited Prohibited
(13) Smoking. Prohibited Prohibited
(14) Littering. Prohibited Prohibited
(15) Using sound-producing equipment (use of headphones is permissible if others cannot hear the output). Prohibited Prohibited
(16) Spitting, urinating or defecating4; or creating unsanitary conditions through presence of blood, urine, feces, vomit, or other bodily fluids. (MAJOR INFRACTION) Prohibited Prohibited
(17) Carrying an explosive or acid, flammable liquid, or toxic or hazardous material in or on RTA property. (MAJOR INFRACTION) Prohibited Prohibited
(18) Interfering with the provision of transportation services (i.e., failure to properly board or alight, blocking progress of a transit vehicle, disturbing the driver, etc.). Prohibited Prohibited
(19) Willfully disturbing others in or on RTA property by engaging in boisterous or unruly behavior. Prohibited Prohibited
(20) Defacing, destroying or otherwise vandalizing transit property or any sign, notices or advertisements thereon. (MAJOR INFRACTION) Prohibited Prohibited
(21) Throwing objects at RTA property or at persons in or on transit property. (MAJOR INFRACTION) Prohibited Prohibited
(22) Failure to pay the appropriate fare or present a valid pass, willfully presenting an invalid pass or transfer, or failure to surrender an invalid pass if demanded by an authorized RTA employee. (MAJOR INFRACTION) Prohibited Prohibited
(23) Misrepresenting oneself as eligible for special or reduced fares or transfers5.(MAJOR INFRACTION) Prohibited Prohibited
(24) Failure to follow lawful direction from an RTA employee. Prohibited Prohibited
(25) Bringing onto RTA property odors which unreasonably disturb others or interfere with their use of the RTA system, whether such odors arise from one’s person, clothes, articles, accompanying animal or any other source. Prohibited Prohibited

Article V, Consequences of Violating Code of Conduct

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

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

Immediate suspension of RTA service may be affected by a law enforcement officer or any authorized RTA 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 RTA service who have been denied service or suspended must petition (either verbally or in writing) to the RTA Operations Manager in order to resume transit service privileges. The RTA Operations Manager will respond in writing (using US Postal Service Certified Mail) within five business days with details on the date riding privileges will be reinstated.

For repeat or major offenders, the RTA Operations Manager 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 RTA Operations Manager a written request for review of the suspension and an opportunity to present reasons for reconsideration of the suspension. Within ten business days after receiving a request for review, the RTA Executive Director shall set a telephonic or inperson hearing to review the RTA Operations Manager’s decision with the offender. The hearing shall be held within ten business days following the request for a hearing. The RTA Executive Director then shall decide to affirm or reverse the suspension within ten days following the public hearing. The RTA Executive Director’s decision shall be final.

Table 2 – Disciplinary Actions

Type Disciplinary Action Disciplinary Review Process
(1) 1st Infraction (Minor) Immediate denial of service Petition RTA Operations Manager
(2) 2nd Infraction (Minor) Same as (1), plus: suspension of service privileges for a period not to exceed seven days Petition RTA Operations Manager
(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 Hearing by RTA Executive Director after disciplinary process
(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 Executive Director after disciplinary process

1This paragraph does not apply to an 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 RTA in a manner that does not interfere with the safety of the bicyclist or other patrons of the transit facility.

2This paragraph shall not be interpreted to affect any lawful activities permitted or 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.

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

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

5In 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.