As you know, we have a set of “Rules for Riding” in place to help our riders and employees feel safe and comfortable while on the transit system. Effective today, we’ve revised our rules on two issues that we know are really important to riders—smoking and service animals. Here’s what’s changing:
“No smoking” now includes vaporizers
Smoking (anything!) is already prohibited on all TriMet property for the health and comfort of our riders. But we’re updating our rules to specifically call out vaporizers/vape cigarettes in addition to e-cigarettes. Many of you have called or written us about riders vaping at stops and stations, and this change will allow us to enforce the smoking ban more effectively. So, when you see a “No Smoking” sign, that means no smoking—of any kind.
As to where you can and can’t smoke, there is an exception to the rule: Smoking is allowed outside of bus shelters and MAX stations along public sidewalks, such as in Downtown Portland.
By the way, if you see someone smoking regularly at a stop or station at around the same time of day on the same days of the week, let us know. Enforcement actions include a $250 fine or even an exclusion from the system.
If you smoke, please be courteous to your fellow riders and smoke away from the shelter, and definitely not on buses or trains!
Companion animals must be in a carrier
For the safety of our riders, we’ve revised our definition of a service animal. Effective today, pets that provide emotional support or companionship (“companion” or “comfort” animals) are no longer considered service animals and will have to ride in a closed carrier. Only guide dogs, signal dogs or other animals trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability will be allowed on board outside of a carrier.
So how can operators tell if an animal is really a service animal? Operators can ask, “Is that a service animal?” and “What service is your animal trained to perform?” But that’s about it. By law, if a rider claims their animal is a service animal, we have to take their word for it. We know some people abuse this policy, but there’s really not much we can do about it.
Keep in mind, many riders legitimately need and use service animals to help them get around—and it may not always be obvious that an animal is a service animal.