Tell WMATA: Riding transit is not a crime

Act Now

On September 9, the WMATA Board of Directors will vote on a new rule to allow Metro Transit Police to suspend or ban people from transit if they’re arrested – not convicted – for certain criminalized actions while using Metro.

The stated intent of the policy is to make public transit safer, but if enacted, this policy will expand the power of Metro Transit Police to stop, search, suspend, and arrest riders without any meaningful due process. Riders who are wrongfully suspended would have to appeal the suspension in writing to someone appointed by WMATA, who would have over two weeks to issue a final, binding decision. If that rider gets on a train or bus pending the outcome of their appeal, they can be arrested for criminal trespass.

Metro Transit Police has no independent oversight and a documented history of excessive force tactics and overpolicing of Black and brown riders for minor offenses such a fare evasion or eating and drinking. Expanding Metro Transit Police powers to suspend or ban riders is also likely to increase confrontations between officers and riders, making Metro less safe for everyone.

WMATA has not provided any evidence that banning riders from public transit will deter unwanted behavior. Arbitrary enforcement of this policy will especially harm those who rely on public transit the most and could result in loss of jobs or access to basic needs such as grocery stores, schools, court appointments, or other critical services.

Take action below by sending a letter to the WMATA Board of Directors demanding they vote NO on this proposal at their meeting.

Message Recipients: WMATA Board of Directors

Tell WMATA: Riding Transit is Not a Crime Graphic
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Your Message
Use the form to send a message to the WMATA Board of Directors.
Dear WMATA Board of Directors,

As a DMV resident and Metro customer, I urge you to vote “No” on the rule change that would suspend access to transit for riders arrested for certain crimes, bypassing their right to meaningful due process.

There is little to no evidence that such a suspension policy has any deterrent effect, and WMATA has offered no information on how this policy would be meaningfully enforced without violating the civil rights and civil liberties of public transit users.

The likely outcome of this policy will be an increase in unjustified police stops and searches, as well as an increase in confrontations between Metro Transit Police officers and riders, making Metro less safe for everyone.

Under the proposed rule, officers’ mistakes, biases, and prejudices can deprive people of access to their sole means of transportation: how they get to work, travel to care for a sick loved one, or attend a court date.

We all want a transit system that is safe and equitable. Expanding police power and denying people access to a critical public service without due process will not achieve this goal. I urge you to vote “No” on this proposal.

Sincerely,

[First Name] [Last Name]

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