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Valley Metro mulling crackdown on bad behavior on Phoenix light rail

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PHOENIX — People who cause a disturbance while riding the light rail could soon find themselves sitting on the curb, forced to find another way around the city, Valley Metro said.

The agency’s CEO, Scott Smith, said the new Respect the Ride campaign will remove troublemakers from the train.

“You can be obnoxious, boisterous — you can make people feel really uncomfortable — and, under our current set of rules, we don’t remove you from the system,” he said.

Smith said Valley Metro decided changes were needed after getting some negative feedback.

“The perception of light rail as a safe transportation has suffered and we hear it a lot,” he said.

Smith said the program will use a combination of education and enforcement on the platforms to keep those would could be a problem off the rails.

“We’ll be able to head off problems before they get on the train,” he said.

Smith said the goal was to ensure everyone feels more comfortable and has a smooth trip.

“We’re tightening down a little bit and trying to make sure small irritants and small events don’t escalate into bigger events,” he said.

With the new rules, guards can remove riders for loud or obnoxious antics.

“Under this new rule, we can ban that person, not because of what they said but how they said it and the fact that they made people feel threatened,” Smith said.

Valley Metro will also prohibit people from riding the train all day without exiting. Security guards will be able to remove people who purchase an all-day pass just to sleep on the train, Smith said.

The new rules will be put into place in the next three months if the board of directors gives approval this week.

KTAR News’ Nailea Leon and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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