The Metra Board of Directors today adopted a Passenger Code of Conduct that identifies prohibited behaviors for anyone using Metra facilities or trains and allows for the suspension of riding privileges and/or confiscation of the fare media of passengers whose behavior threatens the safety of train crews, other employees, and fellow riders.
The new Passenger Code of Conduct is in response to a law passed by the Illinois Legislature in 2023 that gives transit agencies the ability to act against riders who engage in certain conduct. Examples of prohibited conduct include:
- Verbally or physically threatening the safety of another person/others.
- Causing or attempting to cause physical harm to another person/others.
- Pushing or attempting to push another person/others.
- Hitting, kicking, or attempting to hit or kick another person/others.
- Attacking or threatening to attack another person/others with a weapon. This includes, but is not limited to, waving weapons or pointing a gun at another person/others (regardless of whether the gun is loaded).
- Throwing or attempting to throw things at another person/others.
- Spitting on or attempting to spit on another person/others.
- Sexually assaulting or attempting to sexually assault another person or persons.
- Engaging in acts of public indecency.
“The safety of our riders and our workers is paramount, and Metra intends to make full use of this new state law to make sure we are protecting both riders and workers to the best of our ability,” said Metra Executive Director/CEO Jim Derwinski.
If a person engages in any of these behaviors, Metra employees will contact Metra Police, who will issue a notice to the passenger and schedule a hearing date regarding confiscation of fare cards (or withdrawal of mobile tickets from the Ventra app) and/or suspension of riding privileges. Metra Police may also issue criminal citations, as warranted.
The hearings, which can be conducted in person at Metra headquarters at 547 W. Jackson, remotely, or by telephone, must take place before any suspension of riding privileges and/or confiscation of fare media occurs. Riders may waive their right to a hearing and ask that the confiscation/suspension be imposed earlier. If fare media is confiscated and/or riding privileges are suspended after the hearing, the violators will have the right to up to two appeals. Suspensions can range from 10 days to one year. However, repeat offenses may result in lengthier suspensions lasting longer than a year.
If the fare media is confiscated, the value of any unexpended fare credit or unexpired passes will be reimbursed. Metra Police will keep a database of individuals, and if they are caught riding during their suspension period, they may be arrested for criminal trespass.
“No transit employee should have to face an individual who has spit in their face, threatened their life, placed their hands on them or physically assaulted them. With Metra's new Code of Conduct, those acts, along with others, will now be cause for someone to lose riding privileges, and repeated offenses can, and should, lead to lengthy suspensions,” said Bob Guy, State Director for the SMART Transportation Division, the union that represents Metra conductors. “We thank Metra for working with SMART-TD on this new policy and will look forward to its enforcement to help with the safety and security of not only our members, but also the valued customers of Metra.”
“This law is long overdue and the first step toward protecting the men and women who work on board Metra trains,” said Edward Waugh, General Chairman, SMART Transportation Division.
“I applaud Metra for adopting a new passenger code of conduct that will hold riders who assault Metra workers accountable and make it clear that riding Metra is a privilege, not a right,” said Brian Shanahan, Vice President, Transportation Communications Union, which represents Metra front-line customer service workers. “Metra’s workers should never be forced to choose between doing their job and risking their life.”