PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland mass transit service TriMet recently proposed a new ordinance that would worsen punishments for those who commit serious offenses on TriMet trips.

The changes would make TriMet safer for riders and employees, according to the agency.

The TriMet Board of Directors proposed Ordinance 369 in its first reading and public hearing on Wednesday. The ordinance would revise TriMet’s code for riding and operating, allowing the general manager to enforce stricter penalties for misconduct on the transit system.

“With the challenges happening in the community today, issues such as vandalism, crime, drug use and mental health are at a tipping point and, at times, spill over onto the transit system, despite agency efforts,” TriMet Chief Operating Officer Bonnie Todd said.

This isn’t the first time TriMet has addressed inappropriate behavior this year. Back in January, the transit system updated its code after passengers were reportedly spitting on employees.

The new rules target perpetrators of major physical offenses and repeat offenders of TriMet’s Code of conduct — rather than less serious, infrequent violations.

According to TriMet, there are three main changes that would come out of Ordinance 369:

  • Attempted felonies and Class A misdemeanors — such as assault and bias crimes in the second degree, public indecency, possession of a hoax destructive device, etc., — could result in a long-term ban from TriMet rides.
  • There would no longer be a separation between first and second violations because any violation that causes a long-term ban would more than likely be a physical, serious one. If riders are banned permanently, they would have the right to repeal it once per year.
  • People who have repeatedly gone against the TriMet code, and failed to improve their behavior, could receive a long-term ban of up to two years. Those with at least three violations within 90 days will qualify as “chronic offenders.”

Todd also said, “TriMet is working on a strategy to better address inappropriate behavior on the system, better support our operators and other employees, improve the cleanliness of our vehicles and property and pursue coordinated efforts with external partners to address social issues and ensure safe access to transit.”

The TriMet Board of Directors will vote on whether to implement Ordinance 369 at the meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14.