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
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