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C-Tran adds hate crimes to conduct rules

Agency says some drivers have been targets of racial slurs

By , Columbian staff reporter
Published: November 14, 2019, 6:00am

C-Tran, in response to isolated clashes between minority drivers and passengers, has modified its rules to specifically include hate crimes in its list of prohibited activities.

The C-Tran Board of Directors approved the amendment with little discussion Tuesday night.

In November 2013, C-Tran adopted “rules of conduct” that outline prohibited behaviors by passengers that could result in them being barred from C-Tran vehicles, buildings and other facilities.

The change incorporates state law for hate crimes, RCW 9A.36.080, into the conduct rules.

Scott Patterson, C-Tran’s chief external affairs officer, said there have been a few incidents where minority drivers have gotten into fare-related disputes with passengers and have been subjected to racial slurs.

“What we have heard from some of the drivers is they didn’t know how to deal with them,” he said before Tuesday’s meeting.

Patterson said there has been no recent spike in these types of incidents.

“I don’t want to make it sound like it’s happening every day, all the time,” he said. “But when it does happen, we want to make sure we have the right tools in the toolbox.”

Someone who engages in what is considered a hate crime under state law could be excluded from C-Tran vehicles and facilities for 365 days to forever.

The agency’s conduct rules list numerous prohibited activities, including:

• laying hands or verbally intimidating an agency driver or employee, including spitting on them.

• smoking or using chewing tobacco, except in designated places.

• discarding litter on C-Tran property, except in designated receptacles.

• playing a radio or other sound-producing device, except when using earphones.

• carrying flammable liquid, explosives, acid or other hazardous substances.

• throwing items at C-Tran vehicles and employees.

C-Tran spokeswoman Chris Selk said the agency will post the rules prominently on all of its buses.

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