HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 3215        FILED ON: 1/20/2017

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 3431

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Jack Lewis

_________________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act establishing the commuter rail patrons’ bill of rights.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Jack Lewis

7th Middlesex

Mike Connolly

26th Middlesex

Diana DiZoglio

14th Essex

James B. Eldridge

Middlesex and Worcester

Sean Garballey

23rd Middlesex

Carmine L. Gentile

13th Middlesex

Paul R. Heroux

2nd Bristol

Natalie Higgins

4th Worcester

Bradford R. Hill

4th Essex

David M. Rogers

24th Middlesex

Chris Walsh

6th Middlesex


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 3215        FILED ON: 1/20/2017

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 3431

By Mr. Lewis of Framingham, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 3431) of Jack Lewis and others for legislation to establish the commuter rail patrons’ bill of rights.  Transportation.

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 

_______________

In the One Hundred and Ninetieth General Court
(2017-2018)

_______________

 

An Act establishing the commuter rail patrons’ bill of rights.

 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary:

(a)  Any public or private entity offering service as a common rail carrier for natural persons within the territorial jurisdiction of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts shall establish and post a Passenger’s Bill of Rights.

(b)  Said entity must establish and post the Passenger’s Bill of Rights within 180 days of attaining initial certification to operate within the Commonwealth or within 180 days of the enactment of this law. 

(c)  Such Bill of Rights must ensure paying passengers receive reasonable service to include, at a minimum, prioritization of safety, adherence to posted schedules, and respectful treatment by staff. 

(1)Adherence to a posted scheduled requires, but is not limited to

(i) The schedule be reasonably available in hardcopy and digital form;

(ii) The schedule be available in English, Spanish and Portuguese;

(iii)  No route, service or specific train be cancelled without advertising such change 30 days in advance;

(A) Exception may be granted for unusually severe weather or an accident on the track that requires investigation, but not for performing maintenance or repairs; for the purposes of this act unusually severe weather shall mean adverse weather, which at the time of year it occurred is unusual for the place in which it occurred. No matter how severe or destructive, if the weather is not unusual for the particular time and place, or if a public or private entity offering service should have reasonably anticipated it, an exception is not allowed.

(iv) The schedule be accurate with any changes advertised at least 30 days in advance; and

(v) The train arrive at each designated stop no later than 30 minutes from posted time.

(A) Exception may be granted for unusually severe weather or an accident on the track that requires investigation, but not for performing maintenance or repairs; for the purposes of this act unusually severe weather shall mean adverse weather, which at the time of year it occurred is unusual for the place in which it occurred. No matter how severe or destructive, if the weather is not unusual for the particular time and place, or if a public or private entity offering service should have reasonably anticipated it, an exception is not allowed.

(d) An infraction of the Passenger’s Bill of Rights subjects the common rail carrier entity to treble damages such that, should any paying passenger or group of paying passengers give timely notice of a breach of the Passenger’s Bill of Rights through an official avenue, that passenger or group of passengers shall be entitled to a voucher for three free rides on the same line in the form of a 3-Free-Ride voucher.

(1) A timely notice of Passenger’s Bill of Rights infraction generally means while the passenger is still on the train, or within 24 hours of a train service that was cancelled or more than 30 minutes late to arrive.

(2) An official avenue for notice includes, but is not limited to, a communication to an on-duty conductor or ticket-collector, or an email to the entity’s customer service or general account.

(3) It is permissible for the 3-Free-Ride voucher to be non-transferable.

(4) It is permissible for the 3-Free-Ride voucher to be issued to a particular person and redeemable only with production of corroborating personal identification.

(5) Should the line for which the 3-Free-Ride voucher is redeemable be cancelled prior to the expiration of the voucher, said voucher may be redeemed on any other line serviced by the same entity.

(6) The 3-Free-Ride voucher shall be redeemable for its equivalent value on the purchase of a monthly or ten ride pass.