MARTA proposes new plan to crack down on riders with habitual bad behavior

MARTA unveils a plan to crack down on riders who act up on their trains and buses. The agency wants to ban repeat offenders who start fights, harass employees, or other riders or violate other rules of the passenger code of conduct. A MARTA board of directors committee on Thursday approved the plan.

"We’re consistently seeing a small group of individuals who continually violate MARTA’S rules and regulations," said MARTA Police Chief Scott Kreher.

Under the plan, MARTA would suspend someone from riding if they accumulate three citations in 90 days for violating the passenger code of conduct.

"You’re going to be banned for a year. You get caught four times and suspended four times in a 90-day period, we’re going to ban you for life," Kreher said.

MARTA could also ban you for offenses like indecent exposure, stealing, harassing or threatening other passengers and employees.

"It really gives our officers and our employees an opportunity to ban individuals who are consistently breaking the rules or consistently breaking the law," Kreher said, adding he wants to make the system safer for commuters and workers. "Interfering with the operator’s ability to operate a bus or train, fighting on the transit system, stalking or following an employee."

Riders like Tahjane Austin approve of the plan.

"It’s a good idea," Austin said. It’s helping everybody out who goes to work. Everybody just wants to come to work and go home."

The new policy would revise MARTA’s current "ride with respect campaign," targeting smoking, panhandling and eating.

MARTA’s full board is expected to vote on the plan next month.