BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 716
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 25, 2011

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION
                               Bonnie Lowenthal, Chair
                   AB 716 (Dickinson) - As Amended:  April 12, 2011
           

          SUBJECT  :  Transit passenger prohibition orders

           SUMMARY  :  Makes changes to the authorization conferred upon the 
          Sacramento Regional Transit District (RT) and the Fresno Area 
          Express (FAX) (hereinafter referred to as transit district) to 
          implement transit security measures, such as passenger 
          exclusions or prohibition orders, to curb passenger misconduct 
          and reduce nuisance behavior in specified transit facilities.  
          Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Eliminates the existing program sunset date of January 1, 
            2012, that authorizes RT and FAX to implement additional 
            transit security measures to curb passenger misconduct and 
            reduce nuisance behavior in specified transit facilities.  

          2)Clarifies the definition of "rail transit related property" to 
            mean rail-related or transit-related property, including the 
            vehicles that are used to transport bus or rail passengers.  

          3)Extends the "look-back" time period from 60 to 90 consecutive 
            days under which a person cited for an infraction committed in 
            or on a vehicle, bus stop, or light rail station of the 
            transit district on at least 3 separate occasions could lead 
            to the issuance of a prohibition order.  

          4)Establishes that any person violating a prohibition order is 
            guilty of a misdemeanor.  

           EXISTING LAW  :  

          1)Authorizes a transit district to issue a prohibition order to 
            any person who, on at least three separate occasions within a 
            period of 60 consecutive days, is cited for an infraction 
            committed in or on a vehicle, bus stop, or light rail station 
            of the transit district for any act that is a violation by:  

             a)   Interfering with the operator or operation of a transit 
               vehicle, or impeding the safe boarding or alighting of 








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               passengers.  

             b)   Committing any act or engaging in any behavior that may, 
               with reasonable foreseeability, cause harm or injury to any 
               person or property.  

             c)   Willfully disturbing others on or in a system facility 
               or vehicle by engaging in boisterous or unruly behavior.  

             d)   Carrying an explosive or acid, flammable liquid, or 
               toxic or hazardous material in a public transit facility or 
               vehicle.  

             e)   Urinating or defecating in a system facility or vehicle, 
               except in a lavatory.  

             f)   Willfully blocking the free movement of another person 
               in a system facility or vehicle.  

             g)   Remaining at a light rail station longer than necessary 
               to board, meet or accompany a passenger on the next train 
               traveling in the desired direction, as prescribed by the 
               transit district's ordinance addressing such activities.  

             h)   Having an open container of an alcoholic beverage while 
               in or on a vehicle, bus stop, or light rail station of the 
               transit district.  

          2)Authorizes a prohibition order to be issued to a person 
            arrested or convicted for any misdemeanor or felony committed 
            in or on a vehicle, bus stop, or light rail station of the 
            transit district.  

          3)Prohibits a person subject to a prohibition order from 
            entering the property, facilities, or vehicles of a transit 
            district for a period of time deemed appropriate by the 
            transit district, provided that the duration of a prohibition 
            order shall not exceed:  

             a)   30 days if issued pursuant to section #1 above, provided 
               that a second prohibition order within one year may not 
               exceed 90 days, and a third or subsequent prohibition order 
               within one year may not exceed 180 days.  

             b)   30 days if issued for an arrest pursuant to a person 








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               arrested or convicted for any misdemeanor or felony 
               committed in or on a vehicle, bus stop, or light rail 
               station of the transit district.  Upon conviction of a 
               misdemeanor offense, the duration of the prohibition order 
               for the conviction, when added to the duration of the 
               prohibition order for the initial arrest, if any, may not 
               exceed 180 days.  Upon conviction of a felony offense, the 
               duration of the prohibition order for the conviction, when 
               added to the duration of the prohibition order for the 
               initial arrest, if any, may not exceed one year.  

          4)Specifies prohibition processes, notification procedures, and 
            hearing and appeals procedures.  
             
          5)Requires transit districts choosing to exercise this authority 
            to establish an advisory committee and to ensure that 
            personnel charged with issuance and enforcement of prohibition 
            orders receive training as emphasized and as recommended by 
            the advisory committee.  Tasks the advisory committee with 
            responsibilities as specified.  Authorizes existing advisory 
            committees to be used if it complies with the requirements as 
            set forth in this bill.  

          6)Establishes that a violation of a prohibition order is 
            punishable as an infraction.  Expands the authorization of RT 
            to allow designated persons regularly employed by RT as 
            inspectors or supervisors whose duties include enforcement of 
            RT ordinances, to also make arrests for infractions.  

          7)Establishes RT to meet the present and future public 
            transportation needs of the Sacramento region.  RT currently 
            operates 64 bus routes and 37.5 miles of light rail within a 
            418 square-mile service area.  RT served over 31.5 million 
            passengers in fiscal year 2010.  Its facilities include 48 
            light rail stations, 31 bus and light rail transfer centers, 
            and 18 park-and-ride lots.  It also serves over 3,300 bus 
            stops throughout Sacramento County.  

          8)Not established in state law, the Fresno Area Express (FAX) is 
            operated by the City of Fresno and provides 20 fixed-route bus 
            lines serving the greater Fresno metropolitan area.  For 
            fiscal year 2009, it provided 18 million fixed-route and 
            234,000 demand-response passenger trips within its service 
            area.  









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           FISCAL EFFECT :  Unknown

           COMMENTS  :  At a time when motor vehicle fuel prices are 
          escalating and reaching all-time highs on an almost daily basis, 
          people throughout the state are turning to alternative means of 
          transportation other than the personal vehicle.  Public transit 
          is one such alternative mode of transportation that people are 
          using, resulting in increased transit ridership at all-time high 
          levels.  In 2008, this committee passed legislation that was 
          subsequently enacted that provided RT and FAX another 
          enforcement tool to provide safer public transit rides.  That 
          legislation, SB 1561 (Steinberg) Chapter 528, Statutes of 2008, 
          allows the RT and FAX transit district officers to keep unruly 
          patrons from using the transit vehicles and facilities by 
          issuing prohibition orders, denying them entry onto the vehicles 
          or facilities.  SB 1561 also requires an annual report by the 
          two transit districts.  Summaries of the RT and FAX annual 
          reports are as follows:  

          In its recent annual report, RT indicates that there have been 
          129 violations from October 1, 2009 to October 31, 2010.  The 
          top three violations included:  

          1)Willfully disturbing others on or in a system facility or 
            vehicle by engaging in boisterous or unruly behavior (59%)  

          2)Urinating or defecating in a system facility, except in a 
            lavatory (17%)  

          3)Interfering with the operator of the transit vehicle and 
            impeding the safe boarding or alighting of passengers (12%).

          None of these violations were by repeat offenders within the 60 
          day period.  The annual report recommends that the law be 
          strengthened in three areas:  

          1)Increase the "look back" time period from 60 to 90 days in 
            which infractions can be considered allowing exclusions if the 
            violation is repeated on three occasions. 

          2)Include fare violations as one of the elements for excludable 
            violations.  

          3)Establish a penalty for violating an exclusion order.  









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          Similarly, in its annual report, FAX indicates that it "has 
          experienced an increase in unruly behavior, primarily a result 
          of drug/alcohol use.  However, unruly behavior, including 
          assaults is increasing? The FAX Transit Security Committee 
          believes that the Legislature needs to put more teeth in the 
          law.  The 60-day time period for three violations before 
          prohibition does not send a strong message to violators.  The 
          Transit Security Committee believes 90 days would be more 
          appropriate and effective? The current exclusion law does not 
          impose a specific penalty on someone who has been excluded but 
          continues to board the buses.  Many of the worst violators 
          receive prohibitions but scoff at the authority's inability to 
          enforce it.  The Transit Security Committee would like to see a 
          reasonable fine imposed when prohibited riders continue to board 
          our services."  

           Author's intent of the bill  :  The author contends that "In 
          recent years, the Sacramento Regional Transit (RT) Board of 
          Directors and staff have received increasing numbers of 
          complaints from riders regarding the safety of RT vehicles, 
          parking lots and passenger waiting areas.  By allowing 
          Sacramento Regional Transit and the Fresno Area Express to 
          exclude passengers cited for certain offenses these agencies 
          will be able to reduce passenger disruptions and improve overall 
          service. To encourage ridership and to reduce emissions 
          associated with daily commuting; potential passengers need to 
          feel that transit services are a safe alternative to driving."   

           
          Support  :  Writing in support of this bill, RT indicates that 
          "the authority for the program expires at the end of 2011 and AB 
          716 would extend that expiration date indefinitely to ensure the 
          continuation of our efforts to provide an improved public 
          transit environment and experience."  
           
          Related bills  :  SB 1561 (Steinberg) Chapter 528, Statutes of 
          2008, established the prohibition order pilot program for RT and 
          FAX with an expiration date of January 1, 2012.  

          AB 2324 (John Perez) Chapter 675, Statutes of 2010, creates new 
          misdemeanors and recasts fines and punishments for crimes 
          committed in a public transit facility.  Among its provisions, 
          makes fair evasion and misuse of transfer pass a misdemeanor 
          upon third or subsequent conviction punishable by $400 or by 
          imprisonment in the country jail for not more than 90 days.








                                                                  AB 716
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          AB 343 (Huff) Chapter 260, Statutes of 2006, allows the Foothill 
          Transit District to let contracts for the enforcement of 
          California Penal Code provisions relating to prohibited 
          behaviors on public transportation systems, if the persons 
          providing that service complete training requirements specified 
          in existing law.  

          AB 630 (Oropeza) Chapter 938, Statutes of 2002, requires the Los 
          Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to perform 
          a security assessment in conjunction with other municipal 
          operators in Los Angeles County to determine the safety and 
          security measures required to protect their operations and 
          passengers.  

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :

           Support 
           
          Sacramento Regional Transit District (Sponsor) 
          City of Fresno  
          Ridership for the Masses

           Opposition 
           
          None on file

           
          Analysis Prepared by  :   Ed Imai / TRANS. / (916) 319-2093