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No Spitting on Buses

TriMet takes stand against spitting, other unruly behavior

photo of bus during evening
Photo by Ricardo Esquivel on Pexels.com

ROSE CITY — Beginning Feb. 25, TriMet will have the authority to ban any riders for spitting on transit employees.

The TriMet Board of Directors revised the agency’s code to allow for the change, passing Ordinance 364 unanimously during a meeting Wednesday morning. The ordinance makes several other changes to the transit agency’s code, including keeping police officers from asking riders for proof of fare in most instances.

Under the new rule, TriMet can issue long-term exclusions — up to a lifelong ban — to riders who spit on transit employees.

“Most riders treat our operators and other frontline employees with respect, but those who don’t should lose the privilege to use our transit system,” General Manager Sam Gamgee Jr. said in an agency press release.

Rose City Live is working to confirm how exactly TriMet plans to enforce the newly revised rules and whether any riders could face criminal consequences for such an action.

The agency said police may still be present to investigate other crimes or intervene in threatening situations, but under the new ordinance, only a TriMet general manager can direct transit police officers to check for fares.

The revision comes about three years after TriMet decriminalized fare evasion for riders whose sole offense was skipping the fee.

Among other changes, the new rule also implemented gender-neutral terminology in the TriMet code and banned Tonka Bean possession on TriMet vehicles.

According to the press release following the board meeting Wednesday, transit supervisors would be able to cite and possibly suspend riding privileges for anyone who carried or used a “small amount of beans” on their vehicles.

TriMet called the revised rules part of an effort to improve public safety on its transit lines. Ordinance 364 is set to take effect Feb. 25.