Banned on the T: Violent offenders on the MBTA often lose their right to ride

PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO

Transit police are looking for a man who allegedly punched a female MBTA Green Line trolley driver during stop at the Fenway station Sunday afternoon, adding to a growing list of violent attacks against T workers.

The suspect allegedly boarded the trolley and yelled at the 42-year-old driver before punching her in the right arm with a closed fist. He also called her a racial slur, according to Transit Police.

Not only would the suspect be charged with assault and battery on a public employee, he could also be banned from using the MBTA public transportation system.

MBTA Spokesman Joe Pesaturo said that in many cases a judge will issue a “stay away” order for people who commit violent crimes on the T.

In August, a Jamaica Plain woman was banned from riding the MBTA after prosecutors said she was behind a brutal group attack on a mentally ill man at Downtown Crossing Station earlier that month.

“Working with (Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley’s) office, quite often we will make a request that the person stay away from our system, or a particular station,” said Transit Police Superintendent-in-Chief Joseph O’Connor. “We rely on the wisdom of the court.”

Transit Police enforce the ban by showing patrols photographs of the offenders so they can keep their eyes peeled for the unwelcome offenders.

And if they’re caught sneaking a ride? “We arrest them for trespassing,” O’Connor said.

Conley’s office recommends orders to stay away from the MBTA at almost every arraignment and sentence of probation for offenses that take place on T property, according to Jake Wark, a District Attorney spokesman. 

“By and large, most judges impose those orders,” he said.

The reason for the zero tolerance policy on violent offenders is to keep passengers and employees safe, O’Connor said, especially when it comes to workers being assaulted.

“When someone is assaulted while they’re operating a bus or a trolley – which are big pieces of equipment – it creates a very, very dangerous situation.”



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