- Associated Press - Saturday, October 14, 2017

PHOENIX (AP) - The light rail system that serves Phoenix is planning on implementing new security rules and a code of conduct in response to unruly passenger behavior that has prompted many people to avoid using the mass transit system.

Valley Metro’s new rules would give security guards more flexibility to remove disruptive riders as it would more broadly define what disorderly conduct is prohibited, The Arizona Republic reported on Thursday.

Transit system officials said that an increase of bad behavior on the train has caused other passengers to feel unsafe or uncomfortable, which CEO Scott Smith said has caused harm to the system’s public image.

“The perception of light rail as a safe transportation has suffered. And we hear it a lot,” Smith said.

Under the current code of conduct, if a rider who has a paid fare shouts obscenities or provokes other passengers, security guards cannot remove that person. The guards can only remove that person if he or she becomes violent.

With the new rules, the guards can remove riders for loud or obnoxious antics.

“Under this new rule, we can ban that person, not because of what they said but how they said it and the fact that they made people feel threatened,” Smith said.

Valley Metro will also prohibit people from riding the train all day without exiting. Security guards will be able to remove people who purchase an all-day pass just to sleep on the train, Smith said.

The new rules will be put into place in the next three months if the board of directors gives approval next week.

“I believe that by having a more defined policy on acceptable behaviors it will help to ensure a safe and positive rider experience for everyone,” Valley Metro Board Chairman Chris Glover said.

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Information from: The Arizona Republic, https://www.azcentral.com

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