Metrolinx hikes up fines for behavioural offences

Metrolinx increases fines for impolite acts such as putting your feet on the seat or going barefoot

You may have to be a little more conscious of how you are behaving next time you ride the GO bus or train.

Last month Metrolinx increased fines for behavioural offences. You will be fined $150 for selling to the public without permission, while going barefoot could cost you $75.

The last time Metrolinx updated its list of fines was 2002. According to Joshua Rivett, transit safety operations supervisor with Metrolinx, many of the fines and bylaws are out of date and have been adjusted to better reflect the service they have now.

“The bylaw hadn’t really kept up to par with some of the other transit agencies like the TTC or York Region transit, so it was more about getting the fines up to a level where it was more appropriate,” Rivett said.

When it comes to putting your bag on the seat versus resting your feet on the seat, the feet are taken more seriously due to the hygiene factor.

While bags on seats can irritate riders, Rivett says it is not a huge issue during off-peak times when you are not taking a seat away from another commuter. In those cases Rivett says a friendly reminder usually works, and it isn’t likely to escalate to a charge unless there is some sort of resistance.

“I think it’s over-policing people,” said one rider.

“I’ve never been on the GO train and really been angry with a person. Everyone’s pretty civil, people move their bag if you ask and people only really put their feet up if the car’s completely empty.”

However, not everyone agrees.

“I’ve watched people put their feet up and not let other people sit down, and that’s not fair especially when the train is busy, everybody deserves a seat because we all paid a price,” the commuter said.

While putting your bag or feet on the seat may be irksome, the offence that bothers a lot of Metrolinx riders is noise. All the riders we spoke with had something to say about it.

“It irritates me when people are talking really loudly on their phone, especially in the morning … maybe I just want to rest my eyes and I don’t want to listen to your family problems,” one male rider said.

Rivett said they receive a lot of complaints when it comes to noise and it causes the most disputes between passengers.

“If someone is actually causing a disruption or disturbance of a certain nature, we can obviously step in because there’s a level that has to be drawn at some point,” Rivett said.

When it comes to fining for a behavioural issue, there is a certain scale the transit body follows. It usually starts off with a friendly mention or warning, whether verbal or written. If it is written, however, they are able to track those and if they find the person doing something again, the record may come into play when making the next decision.

“The idea is to stop the offence or deter it from happening again, so whatever we see is the best fit to accomplish that is how we do it,” Rivett said.

Next time you use the GO transit and feel like placing your bag or popping your feet up on the seats, you may want to think twice first.