Light rail aiming for better rides with new rules

PHOENIX - Bad smells, bad tempers, and all-day napping are just some of the complaints Valley light rail riders say annoy them.

"They get chased off and then they come right back on," said Kimberly Pherribo, a light rail rider.

"I've gotten scared where I feel someone's going to break a window," explains Rochelle Nichols, who rides the light rail to work each day.

The light rail trains move tens of thousands of people each day around the City of Phoenix.

With so many, there's certainly going to be some tension. But Valley Metro officials are drawing the line with rude and obnoxious, along with illegal, behaviors.

"Right now, we have a problem enforcing basic behavioral problems, explained Scott Smith, CEO of Valley Metro Light Rail. "If you're intoxicated and acting obnoxious, until you touch somebody or break the law, we can't do anything if you have a ticket."

On Thursday, Valley Metro's board will vote on new regulations that will allow light rail security to remove people from the train, even if they're not breaking the law.

The regulations are part of a new initiative called "Respect the Ride" and will include all-day nappers who buy a pass, but never exit the trains.

"We're becoming a destination system. We'll take you from point A to point B, and when you get there, we expect you to leave the train and leave the platform," said Smith.

Loud music and rude people will also be making an exit.

"Not everyone wants to hear your gangster rap," said Ernie Rodgers, a daily light rail passenger.

"If you're acting in a rude or unsafe manner and you're violating other peoples' rights to a safe and peaceful ride, we'll be able to remove you," warns Smith.

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