Metro considers banning bad passengers

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul Wiedefeld is seen in his office in Washington, Thursday, July 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld is looking into what other transit agencies do with their troublesome riders. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) (AP/Cliff Owen)
Amalgamated Transit Union local 689 President Jacket Jeter with First Vice President Caroll Thomas, speak to reporters at the Minnesota Avenue station Friday. (WTOP/Rich Johnson)
Amalgamated Transit Union local 689 President Jacket Jeter with First Vice President Caroll Thomas, speak to reporters at the Minnesota Avenue station Sept. 1. The gathering stemmed from an Aug. 26 incident in which 38-year-old Opal L. Brown threw a cup of urine on a Metrobus driver. (WTOP/Rich Johnson) (WTOP/Rich Johnson)
Some 20 yards from the Amalgamated Transit Union local 689 news conference, Metro Police Chief Ron Pavlik holds his own news conference Friday at the Minnesota Avenue station. (WTOP/Rich Johnson)
Some 20 yards from the Amalgamated Transit Union local 689 news conference, Metro Police Chief Ron Pavlik holds his own news conference Sept. 1 at the Minnesota Avenue station. The gathering stemmed from an Aug. 26 incident in which 38-year-old Opal L. Brown threw a cup of urine on a Metrobus driver. (WTOP/Rich Johnson) (WTOP/Rich Johnson)
Opal Brown (above) allegedly threw urine on a Metrobus driver. (Courtesy Metro Police Department)
Opal Brown (above) threw urine on a Metrobus driver. (Courtesy Metro Police Department) (Courtesy Metro Police Department)
A Metrobus in D.C. is seen in this December 2016 WTOP file photo. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
Some possible changes could involve considering crimes that are currently misdemeanors as felonies and allowing Metro itself to ban riders. (WTOP/Dave Dildine) (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
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Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul Wiedefeld is seen in his office in Washington, Thursday, July 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Amalgamated Transit Union local 689 President Jacket Jeter with First Vice President Caroll Thomas, speak to reporters at the Minnesota Avenue station Friday. (WTOP/Rich Johnson)
Some 20 yards from the Amalgamated Transit Union local 689 news conference, Metro Police Chief Ron Pavlik holds his own news conference Friday at the Minnesota Avenue station. (WTOP/Rich Johnson)
Opal Brown (above) allegedly threw urine on a Metrobus driver. (Courtesy Metro Police Department)
A Metrobus in D.C. is seen in this December 2016 WTOP file photo. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

WASHINGTON — Metro is looking at ways to enforce stiffer penalties on customers who misbehave on the transit agency’s buses and trains.

The penalties are meant to be a deterrent after a series of attacks on bus drivers — including an incident where a driver was doused in urine after a rider threw a cupful at her.

The Washington Post reports that Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld is looking into what other transit agencies do with their troublesome riders.

Currently, only the courts can decide whether a bad rider can be banned from the transit system. Those restrictions have been limited to specific lines for a finite period of time. Metrobus operators and their union expressed outrage after the urine attack at what they say is an inadequate punishment.

Wiedefeld and Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans — who is also a D.C. councilman — would like to see stiffer penalties.

Some possible changes could involve considering crimes that are currently misdemeanors as felonies and allowing Metro itself to ban riders.

Some, like D.C. Councilman Charles Allen, are open to the idea, but have their reservations. Allen noted his concern that it would unnecessarily punish those struggling to make ends meet.

Others feel such a crackdown would be nearly impossible logistically, because of state borders and individual local jurisdictions with their own legislative variations.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

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