Pierce Transit cracking down on disruptive behavior on buses

TACOMA, Wash. -- Pierce Transit is re-launching a program meant to crack down on disruptive and unlawful behavior, and violators could find themselves banned from the bus.

If you're riding Pierce Transit this week, you might find yourself sitting next to a uniformed police officer. Transit police, security officers and Tacoma Police are increasing their presence on buses and transit centers as part of the "Not On Our Bus" program.

"Our goal is to keep the system safe and keep the people safe on the system," said Sgt. Trent Stephens with the Pierce Transit police.

The officers will be on board to make sure passengers follow the rules. They'll be looking for rider who litter, smoke outside designated areas, spit and threaten others.

It's all part of an effort to make sure everyone's ride is a safe one.

"Generally we're not heavy-handed. We emphasize a zero-tolerance approach. However, zero tolerance in this case means we're not going to let anything go by without talking to them about it," said Sgt. Tony Oliver.

Oliver said officers will primarily be enforcing the rules along bus routes that service high schools.

"It's designed to educate students that are returning to our bus system and new students on to our bus system of what our expectations are regarding good behavior and proper respect for everybody on the transit system," he said.

During last year's enforcement, police banned 68 people for disorderly behavior or criminal activity.

"This is a highly successful program," Oliver said. "We've been doing this for four years now and every year the stats get lower and lower, which is a good indication that it's working."

Anyone who violates Pierce Transit's code of conduct can be banned for 90 days.