ASSEMBLY TRANSPORTATION AND INDEPENDENT AUTHORITIES COMMITTEE
ASSEMBLY, No. 6013
with committee amendments
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
DATED: DECEMBER 9, 2021
The Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee reports favorably and with committee amendments Assembly Bill No. 6013.
As amended and reported, this bill, named the “Motorbus and Passenger Rail Service Employee Violence Prevention Act,” upgrades the penalty for all assaults on a motorbus service employee or autobus operator, the operator’s supervisor, and a rail passenger employee to, at minimum, third degree aggravated assault.
The bill empowers the New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ Transit), motorbus companies, and all rail passenger service providers to prohibits riders from accessing their transportation services for up to one year if the person commits assault on a motorbus service employee, including autobus company employees, or a rail passenger employee. If a deadly weapon was used during the assault, the rider may be prohibited from accessing transportation services for life. The bill requires that NJ Transit and motorbus companies equip each bus and rail and light rail vehicle with a radio or other communication system that allows the operator to alert the company or NJ Transit, as appropriate, and appropriate law enforcement agencies when the operator is in distress. The bill requires NJ Transit and motorbus companies to take measures to help protect employees. The bill also requires NJ Transit and motorbus companies to provide resources to assist bus operators and rail employees that have been assaulted and to provide periodic training to bus operators and rail employees.
The committee amended the bill to expand application of the bill to all motorbus service employees and not only operators and their supervisors. The amendments clarify that light rail service is included in the term rail passenger service. The amendments specify that NJ Transit and motorbus companies may provide a radio or other communication system to alert authorities when in distress. The amendments allow the corporation to utilize an employee court advocate to assist employees that have been assaulted and allow autobus companies to identify a program to assist employees that have been assaulted. The amendments replace the phrase “the owner or operator of an autobus” with the term “autobus company,” which is then defined in the amendments. The amendments require autobus companies to designate a chief security officer to serve as the primary contact for police departments where they provide service and to remove language requiring an autobus company to coordinate to allow law enforcement officers or transit police to ride along on an autobus in certain situations. The amendments also clarify that the appeals process when a person is prohibited from accessing transportation service is to be conducted in a manner established by the appropriate entity.
The amendments removed language in section 2 of the bill concerning operators under contract with NJ Transit but include additional language in section 5 of the bill clarifying that private operators, who may be under contract with NJ Transit, remain covered under the bill. The amendments also add language requiring NJ Transit to make available its assistance and support program plans and de-escalation training to other transportation operators in the State.
The amendments change the effective date to the first day of the sixth month following enactment.