Inbound stop on Idaho and 5th is closed, no temp stop placed due to construction in the area.
Rules of Conduct and Inappropriate Conduct Transit Exclusion Procedure
Updated: January 2023
It is the mission of Valley Regional Transit (VRT) to provide safe, reliable, convenient, and efficient public transportation to the citizens and visitors of the VRT service area. VRT has established these Rules of Conduct to promote the safety and comfort of its riders, to facilitate the proper use of transit facilities and services, to protect transit facilities and employees, to assure the payment of fares, and to ensure that VRT vehicles and facilities are safe, welcoming, and accessible for passengers. Responses to inappropriate and/or illegal conduct are outlined here.
Overview and Definitions
No individual may engage in inappropriate conduct on, at, or in the facilities of VRT, including at transfer points, shelters, bus stops, and administrative, operational, and maintenance facilities, or on buses used to provide VRT fixed route, paratransit, or other services.
Inappropriate conduct includes any individual or group activity that is disruptive or injurious to other individuals lawfully using VRT facilities or services; damaging or destructive to transit facilities or services; or disruptive, harassing, threatening, or injurious to transit employees. Inappropriate conduct may also constitute a violation of an ordinance or criminal law. The fact that an individual is or is not charged or convicted of an incident of inappropriate conduct does not bar investigation and/or exclusion under these Rules of Conduct.
A violation of the VRT Rules of Conduct that is also a violation of a local, state, or federal law may be prosecuted in a court proceeding, in addition to any enforcement by or remedies available to VRT.
An individual suspended from the transit system will not be entitled to any refund of unused fare media that may expire during the time of his/her exclusion.
The term “facilities” means all property of VRT, including, and without limitation, inside and outside areas of VRT property, Main Street Station, Happy Day Transit Center, and VRT administrative offices in Meridian.
The term “public area” of VRT facilities includes those portions of facilities that are open for public use for transit or transit-related purposes.
The term “property” means all equipment of VRT, including, and without limitation to, bus shelters, bus stops, transfer points, signage, buses, and other vehicles used to provide VRT service.
The term “transit services” means fixed-route bus service, on-demand bus service, and paratransit service.
Level I Inappropriate Conduct on Buses or in Other Facilities
For any of the following inappropriate conduct on buses or in any VRT facility, persons will be given a first oral warning not to engage in the conduct by the bus operator, supervisor, hired security, law enforcement officer, or other authorized individual. If further warning is necessary for failure of the passenger to comply, a supervisor, hired security or law enforcement officer may be contacted by the bus operator or VRT employee. The supervisor or law enforcement officer can ask the passenger(s) to leave the bus. An individual who declines to leave the bus after being ordered to do so is subject to arrest and prosecution for trespassing and/or disorderly conduct. Repeat infractions may result in exclusion from VRT transit services. See Section VI, Exclusion Procedure.
- Eating or drinking without completely sealed lids (with the exception of bus operators who have permission to do so when vehicles are not in motion)
- Using an audio device (e.g., portable radio, tape, CD player, TV, etc.), unless such equipment is used with headphones
- Standing in front of the standee line near the bus operator’s seat
- Bringing any animal on buses that is not contained in a kennel or pet carrier, except service animals that assist those with disabilities; animals in pet carriers must fit on customer’s lap or under the seat
- Bringing on board any large articles, packages, baggage, non-collapsible strollers, shopping carts or baby buggies which block the aisle
- Engaging in indecent, profane, boisterous, unreasonably loud or otherwise disorderly conduct under circumstances in which such conduct tends to cause or provoke a disturbance (this is not intended to prohibit ordinary conversation between persons in normal conversational tones)
- Having distracting conversations with bus operators
- Engaging in unauthorized canvassing, selling, soliciting or distributing any material
- Changing a child’s diaper inside a vehicle
- Exhibiting inappropriate personal hygiene, i.e., an individual whose bodily hygiene is so offensive as to constitute a nuisance to other persons
- Boarding unattended minors: children five years of age and under must be closely accompanied at all times by an older responsible individual
- Roller-skating, rollerblading, riding scooters or skateboarding on buses or in transit facilities
- Hanging or swinging from stanchions or other bus equipment with feet off the floor
- Hanging out, reaching out, or putting anything outside of bus windows
- Willfully refusing to pay a fare or show specific fare media to the bus operator
- Otherwise disorderly or inappropriate conduct which is inconsistent with the orderly and comfortable use of buses or transit facilities for their intended purpose
Level II Inappropriate Conduct on Buses or in Other Facilities
The following conduct is prohibited in all VRT facilities, including, but not limited to, buses, transfer points, transit stations and bus shelters except as specifically limited below. Any individual observed engaging in the conduct may be told by a bus operator, supervisor, security officer or other authorized individual to leave the facilities immediately and may be subject to arrest by proper authorities. The bus operator is authorized to request police assistance if necessary. These offenses may also subject passenger(s) to the Exclusion Procedure, described in Section VI; further legal action may be taken as applicable and appropriate.
- Smoking (cigarettes, vaping products or e-cigarettes) on buses, in a transit facility or within 20 feet of any VRT vehicles or any VRT facility entrance (see Section V below concerning lighting an incendiary device – e.g., match or lighter)
- Bringing any items of a dangerous nature (unless allowed by state law) including: weapons (pistols, rifles, knives or swords); flammable liquids; dangerous, toxic or poisonous substances; vessels containing caustic materials, chemicals, acids or alkalis; fishing rods which are not broken down or have unsecured or exposed hooks or lures, ski poles unless secured to skis or have tip covers; sheet glass and sharp objects (fencing foils must be sheathed and left at the front of the bus with the bus operator)
- Behavior that is disruptive, harassing, or threatening in nature on bus or in a transit facility; this includes following or stalking persons
- Causing sounds that are unreasonable and highly disruptive of other individuals, including but not limited to: prolonged loud, abusive, indecent, profane, or drunken conduct
- Misuse of fare media
- Drinking alcoholic beverages or possessing open containers of alcoholic beverages
- Using of or bringing a Segway (or like device) on the bus or in a transit facility unless it is being used as a mobility device; a folding bike can be brought on a bus if it can be placed between two rows of seats
- Otherwise disorderly or inappropriate conduct which is inconsistent with the safe and orderly use of transit facilities for their intended purpose
Level III Inappropriate Conduct/Emergency Situations
The following conduct in all VRT vehicles and facilities, including buses, transfer points, and bus shelters will be cause for police intervention, arrest and/or prosecution. An emergency can be defined as any situation in which an individual’s actions present an imminent danger to the life or safety of him/herself or others, or to VRT property. The bus operator or other authorized individual is authorized to request police assistance. An individual found to have engaged in any of the following activities will be excluded from transit facilities and/or services pursuant to the process in Section VI, Exclusion Procedure.
- Use of counterfeit or stolen fare media
- Assault or threat of assault
- Stealing or willfully damaging, defacing or destroying VRT property; VRT will prosecute anyone who steals or willfully damages, defaces or destroys VRT property
- Lighting an incendiary device (e.g. match, lighter, torch)
- Obstructing or interfering with the Bus Operator’s safe operation of the bus
- Indecent exposure
- Entering or remaining on VRT bus or facility after having been notified by an authorized individual not to do so, or boarding or remaining on VRT bus or facility during the period when an individual has been banned from the premises
Transit Exclusion Procedures: short-term and long-term
The level of inappropriate conduct/emergency situations will be taken into consideration when deciding on suspension action against a violator. Violations of conduct rules are handled as follows:
- Riding privileges can be suspended from the transit system at the discretion of VRT. If a violation occurs at Main Street Station, security personnel and or road supervisors can issue a temporary ban lasting 24 hours. Information about the incident will be provided to VRT to determine whether a longer suspension is needed.
- When suspended, the offender is not allowed to ride any transit vehicle or be on any transit properties. Any time a passenger is suspended, their bus fare shall be forfeited. If the suspended passenger is seen riding another transit vehicle during the suspension period, it will be considered trespassing and law enforcement will be notified. The transit driver will contact his/her supervisor with any/all major violations.
- When a passenger exhibits inappropriate behavior on a transit vehicle or at transit properties/facilities, transit personnel will complete an incident report. VRT staff or a VRT designee will prepare a written letter of suspension regarding transit riding privileges if longer than a 24-hour temporary ban. The letter should state why the passenger was suspended, any documented history of disruptive behavior, and the length of the suspension.
- In the event that an individual has conducted a major violation (acts of physical violence, possession of any weapons, drug activities, or any damage to VRT property), that individual’s privilege to use the VRT service will be revoked.
Second and subsequent offenses
If/when a passenger returns from a suspension, the returning passenger’s behavior will be closely monitored. If additional documented incidents of disruptive behavior occur, the passenger may be suspended for an additional period of time and/or have all transit riding privileges permanently terminated.
- If it has been determined that there have been repeated or serious incidents of inappropriate conduct by an individual, and it is determined that the individual involved should be excluded from transit facilities and/or services or that conditions should be placed on the individual’s continued use thereof: The security officer, supervisor, or law enforcement officer will provide the individual with contact information should they wish to receive further information/details regarding the suspension/exclusion. The supervisor, security officer, or law enforcement officer will provide information regarding the suspension to the appropriate staff at VRT. VRT staff will complete the appropriate documentation and a copy will be filed at the Meridian administration building and made available upon request by the individual. Copies of the documentation can also be mailed to the individual by request. VRT will inform all necessary staff involved about the reasons for and length of the exclusion.
- The VRT Transit Services Manager or VRT designee will issue, or cause to be issued, to the individual involved a written Notice of Suspension from VRT facilities, including services as may be warranted, for any exclusion over seven (7) days. The letter shall indicate the reasons for the suspension, the time period of the suspension, and the facilities and/or services to which the suspension applies. If continued use of transit facilities and/or services is made subject to safety conditions or restrictions (e.g., presence of a parent or guardian in the case of a juvenile; accompaniment by a personal care attendant or aide), a conditional Notice of Suspension may be issued specifying that the individual will be subject to exclusion unless the imposed restrictions are complied with. The letter shall also advise the individual of their right to appeal the decision and include a copy of the appeal procedure. The Transit Services Manager or designee will inform all staff involved, who have a need to know, about the reasons for and length of the exclusion.
- At the discretion of the VRT Transit Services Manager or VRT designee, a juvenile may be restricted to use VRT services only when the juvenile is accompanied by a responsible designated adult for a designated period of time. If the juvenile’s parent or guardian wishes to discuss or appeal a restriction, they must contact VRT. Failure to abide by the restriction may lead to exclusion under this policy.
- In the event that it is determined that an individual should be excluded from VRT facilities and/or services, the process is as follows:
- Authorized VRT personnel will issue a written Notice of Suspension indicating the reasons for the exclusion, the duration of the exclusion and the facilities and/or services to which the exclusion order applies.
- If continued use of transit facilities and/or services is made subject to safety conditions or restrictions (e.g., presence of a parent or guardian in the case of a juvenile; accompaniment by a personal care attendant or aide), a conditional exclusion letter may be issued specifying that the individual will be subject to exclusion unless the imposed restrictions are followed.
- The letter shall also advise the individual of his/her right to appeal the decision and how to file an appeal. Any decision will be in writing and is final.
- Any person issued a Notice of Suspension may appeal their suspension to the VRT Chief Operations Officer (COO) within ten (10) business days of issuance. If an appeal is not filed by the excluded party within 10 days from the commencement of the exclusion to the VRT COO, the right to appeal is considered waived.
- VRT will mail a copy of the entire appeal procedure to persons issued a Notice of Suspension who provide a mailing address. A copy of this procedure is also available for review at VRT’s administrative offices, 700 NE 2nd Street, Ste. 100, Meridian, ID, 83642.
- Any appeal by or on behalf of the party subject to a Notice of Suspension shall be submitted in writing to the VRT COO within ten (10) business days after service by mail. The communication shall state with specificity the grounds for the appeal. All requests must be signed and dated. The COO shall review and may reconsider or modify the decision to exclude an individual, following investigation of the matter and shall specify in writing within fourteen (14) business days of receipt of the appeal the reasons for rescission or modification, if applicable, to the appellant. The COO will seek review of a draft written response by VRT legal counsel before issuing the response to an individual subject to a Notice of Suspension.
Records Routing and Retention
Records of suspensions and all other actions shall be maintained by the Operations Division of VRT. The Transit Services Manager shall be the designated records custodian.