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Lawmaker: Clean Up Transit Rides

A Maryland lawmaker is proposing tougher penalties for transit riders who assault passengers or drivers, damage property and use foul language.

Under legislation introduced yesterday by Del. Melvin L. Stukes (D-Baltimore), beating a transit passenger would be a criminal offense punishable with a mandatory minimum term of 15 years in prison. The mandatory minimum sentence for beating a transit driver would be 20 years.

Another Stukes bill would prohibit customers from using "obscene language" on transit vehicles and in transit facilities. Violators would be subject to a minimum fine of $500.

A third Stukes bill would punish people who damage transit property such as the windows and seats of buses and trains with a maximum sentence of three years and/or a fine not exceeding $2,500.

Stukes, who also works as a part-time customer service agent at the Maryland Transit Administration, said his office has been deluged with complaints.

"People call to say, 'Can we do something about all this foul language that occurs?'" Stukes said. "If [riders] tear the buses up and tear out the windows, guess who's paying for that? You and I. Enough's enough."

Stukes's legislation also would prohibit bus drivers from using a cell phone or other mobile communications devices while operating their vehicles.

-- Philip Rucker

By Philip Rucker  |  January 25, 2008; 2:58 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly  
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Comments

Ok, I'll bite.

I don't envy the transit employees and passengers who have to deal with these louts, but I wonder about the wisdom, to say nothing of the cost, of locking these people up for mandatory minimums of 15 - 20 years, particularly on a first offense. I have no idea how bad the problem is, but Del. Stukes says the MTA is deluged with complaints about foul language. I assume complaints of violence though more serious, are less numerous.

Would a short sharp shock be more effective? Twelve months breaking stones in a chain gang on a diet of vitamins, bread and water, hard bed, no tv etc. with lengthy subsequent probation periods, which if broken would result in longer stints on a chain gang.

Jeez, I think I'll dust off my resume and send it to Joe Whatshisname, America's toughest sheriff.

Posted by: Count Bobulescu | January 26, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Stukes should have suggested to O'Malley that he forget about raising sales, income, computer, car and corporate taxes and just fine those who use foul language instead. That amendment would have brought in more money.

Posted by: Robin Ficker Broker Robin Realty | January 28, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Stukes has give us all a good idea as to where to cut the budget of the Maryland Transit Administration.

Posted by: Cut the budget! | January 28, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

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