NJ Transit

NJ Transit Gets to Ban Rider for Year Over Gross Acts, Judge Rules

He is the first person to face suspension under a new state law enacted in January 2022, NJ Transit said

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Here's an NJ Transit story that commuters might actually be pleased to hear.

A judge just granted the transit agency's request to ban a 36-year-old customer for a year after he had been charged with at least seven separate lewd acts aboard its buses over the past two years, NJ Transit said Friday.

Each of the seven lewd acts was directed toward female bus operators, the agency says. The latest incident, which resulted in the year-long ridership suspension for Sean Guinyard, happened in late August in Willingboro. Another happened in June, while the other five occurred over a span of five months, from May into October, in 2021.

"It was just sickening, what he was doing while he was on the bus. Sickening and terrifying," said Orlando Riley, the chairman of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents drivers.

Guinyard, of Washington Township in Gloucester County, pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree contempt charge in Burlington County, and NJ Transit lobbied the judge to include the year-long ban as part of his sentence.

The Burlington County court granted the request, suspending Guinyard's NJ Transit riding privileges for a year. Any violation of the suspension will be treated as a probation violation and could land him in jail, the agency added.

NJ Transit confirmed Guinyard's suspension is the first under a law Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed in January 2022 to create new tools for protecting transit workers statewide. Along with upgrading the penalty for assaults on bus operators or rail crew, the law authorizes NJ Transit and other public transit carriers to suspend or ban riders who attack employees or otherwise jeopardize the safety and well-being of the riding public.

This past December, the Board of Directors approved a plan to begin the rule-making process to administratively suspend ridership privileges for people who attack NJ Transit employees while also safeguarding due process rights for offenders to appeal proposed suspensions. The proposed regulations would create progressive sanctions, meaning the length of suspension would increase with each ensuing offense.

The proposed rules would also set procedures for the creation of a Ridership Appeal Board to review initial suspension determinations made by NJ Transit. Those rules are currently being finalized and will be presented to the Board of Directors for final adoption.

"It's not just the person responsible for lewd acts. Bus operators are assaulted on a daily basis, putting the bus operator and the passengers at risk," said Riley.

"NJ Transit customers and frontline employees should never be subjected to physical assaults or this type of illegal behavior," NJ Transit President & CEO Kevin S. Corbett said. "NJ TRANSIT is committed to leveraging every available measure to keep our customers and employees safe, and this suspension imposed by the court should serve as a powerful deterrent to any of those who believe they can get away with such disrespectful and abhorrent behavior."

"Operator safety will always be a priority of the Amalgamated Transit Union," ATU Chairman Orlando Riley added. "No one should face the possibility of being assaulted while earning a living for themselves and their families. This one-year ban demonstrates that NJ TRANSIT and the ATU will continue to aggressively pursue any individual wishing to cause harm to our members on the frontline."

Guinyard's attorney declined to comment on the case.

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