Prohibited activities on public transport
On most public transport
Public transport
Public transport is a shared passenger transportation service which is available for use by the general public, as distinct from modes such as taxicab, car pooling or hired buses which are not shared by strangers without private arrangement.Public transport modes include buses, trolleybuses, trams...

 systems, there are at least some activities passengers are prohibited to engage in. Activities like these, which can be restricted in vehicles, stations, and other property of the agency, are prohibited for a variety of reasons. These include keeping other passengers safe and comfortable, protecting the operator, or protecting the vehicles and stations.

Penalties for violations can vary. They can include fines, arrest
An arrest is the act of depriving a person of his or her liberty usually in relation to the purported investigation and prevention of crime and presenting into the criminal justice system or harm to oneself or others...

, prosecution, or removal from the service.

Eating and drinking

Many local public transport services, such as municipal bus or rapid transit
Rapid transit
A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

 systems, prohibit passengers from consuming food or beverage or carrying open food or beverage containers while on board a vehicle or in a station.

Generally, services providing longer forms of transportation, such as regional rail
Regional rail
Commuter rail, also called suburban rail, is a passenger rail transport service that primarily operates between a city center, and the middle to outer suburbs beyond 15km and commuter towns or other locations that draw large numbers of commuters—people who travel on a daily basis...

 or intercity bus
Intercity bus
An intercity bus is a bus that carries passengers significant distances between different cities, towns, or other populated areas. Unlike a municipal bus, which has frequent stops throughout a city or town, an intercity bus generally has a single stop at a centralized location within the city, and...

es, will allow at least some eating and drinking. But some services, like Megabus, prohibit eating and drinking.

A survey of SEPTA riders found that 48% of riders eat while on board their services either regularly or some of the time.


Smoking is a practice in which a substance, most commonly tobacco or cannabis, is burned and the smoke is tasted or inhaled. This is primarily practised as a route of administration for recreational drug use, as combustion releases the active substances in drugs such as nicotine and makes them...

 is one of the most common prohibitions on board a public transport vehicle. Since second-hand smoke can be hazardous to one's health, smoking is prohibited in most public places worldwide, including public transport.

In 1975, a federal law
Federal law
Federal law is the body of law created by the federal government of a country. A federal government is formed when a group of political units, such as states or provinces join together in a federation, surrendering their individual sovereignty and many powers to the central government while...

 was passed in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 banning smoking in all public transport vehicles.

Some intercity bus
Intercity bus
An intercity bus is a bus that carries passengers significant distances between different cities, towns, or other populated areas. Unlike a municipal bus, which has frequent stops throughout a city or town, an intercity bus generally has a single stop at a centralized location within the city, and...

 services will stop to offer smoke breaks to riders.

Audio devices

Most systems prohibit the use of audio-producing devices, such as radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

s, CD players, MP3 players, musical instrument
Musical instrument
A musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can serve as a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates back to the...

s, or other similar gadgets without an earphone through which only the listener can hear.

Mobile phones

Some public transport systems prohibit or limit the use of mobile phones while on board.

Some rail systems have "quiet cars" where passengers are not permitted to engage in conversations and where cell phones cannot be used.


In some places, it is unlawful to photograph or film a public transport vehicle or station or the operation of a public transportation service.

Anti-photography laws (or rules) are in place for various reasons, including the privacy of passengers and crew and concerns over terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

. However, these measures have caused problems for enthusiasts whose hobby is to ride and photograph transport. In some cities, the rules have been abandoned or modified. In other places, the authorities regard enthusiasts as their supporters and encourage their activities so long as they are carried out in a lawful manner from places open to the general public.


Many systems have anti-solicitation laws or guidelines. These include prohibitions against:
  • Selling, advertising the sale of, or purchasing goods or services
  • Campaigning or handing out literature for a political candidate, cause, or religion
  • Soliciting petition
    A petition is a request to do something, most commonly addressed to a government official or public entity. Petitions to a deity are a form of prayer....

     signatures, sometimes including those opposing cutbacks or changes in service
  • Begging
    Begging is to entreat earnestly, implore, or supplicate. It often occurs for the purpose of securing a material benefit, generally for a gift, donation or charitable donation...


Space considerations

Some services have guidelines regarding the amount of space a passenger can take up whether with one's body or belongings.

In some transit systems, including the New York Subway, it is unlawful to place one's belongings on another seat, even when vacant.

Privately-run intercity bus services usually have limits for carry-on and checked luggage, similar to the baggage allowance
Baggage allowance
On the commercial transportation, mostly with airlines, the baggage allowance is the amount of checked or carry-on luggage the airline will allow per passenger. On some airlines, this is the amount that is allowed free of charge...

 system on airplanes.

Criminal acts

While any crime committed on a public transport system would generally be treated like one committed elsewhere, there are some acts for which the prohibitions are emphasized in guidelines on posted signs.

Disorderly conduct

  • Use of roller skates, roller blades, skateboard
    A skateboard is typically a specially designed plywood board combined with a polyurethane coating used for making smoother slides and stronger durability, used primarily for the activity of skateboarding. The first skateboards to reach public notice came out of the surfing craze of the early 1960s,...

    s, scooters
    Kick scooter
    A kick scooter or push scooter, originally scooter, is a human-powered vehicle with a handlebar, deck and wheels that is propelled by a rider pushing off the ground. The most common scooters today have two hard small wheels, are made primarily of aluminium and fold for convenience...

    , or similar vehicles on transit property
  • Drunken or other similar behavior
  • Use of profanity
    Profanity is a show of disrespect, or a desecration or debasement of someone or something. Profanity can take the form of words, expressions, gestures, or other social behaviors that are socially constructed or interpreted as insulting, rude, vulgar, obscene, desecrating, or other forms.The...

    . In the United States, this is controversial due to First Amendment protections. However an operator has the right to establish rules on their on their property as they see fit.


  • Sleeping. This refers not to accidental dosing, but to the intentional use of the system as a place to sleep.
  • Loitering
    Loitering is the act of remaining in a particular public place for a protracted time. Under certain circumstances, it is illegal in various jurisdictions.-Prohibition and history:Loitering may be prohibited by local governments in several countries...

     at a bus stop or rail station longer than is necessary to catch the bus or train, or spending time there at all if not using the service.
  • Riding a bus or train through multiple runs of the service, even with an unlimited travel pass for the period of time for which the act is occurring.


  • Vandalism
    Vandalism is the behaviour attributed originally to the Vandals, by the Romans, in respect of culture: ruthless destruction or spoiling of anything beautiful or venerable...

     (including graffiti
    Graffiti is the name for images or lettering scratched, scrawled, painted or marked in any manner on property....

     or destruction of property)
  • Littering
  • Expectoration (spitting)


Generally, firearms, in countries where they are otherwise allowed to be carried by civilians, are not permitted on board public transport vehicles. Exceptions can be made for law enforcement
Law enforcement agency
In North American English, a law enforcement agency is a government agency responsible for the enforcement of the laws.Outside North America, such organizations are called police services. In North America, some of these services are called police while others have other names In North American...

 or military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 personnel or others with a carrying permit.

Explosives and flammables

Many systems prohibit explosives and flammable liquids that pose threat to the safety of others.


Many places prohibit live animals from being brought on board public transport vehicles. Exceptions are sometimes made for animals kept within a container from which they cannot escape or service animal
Service animal
Service animals are animals that have been trained to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities. Service animals may also be referred to as "assistance animals," "assist animals," "support animals," or "helper animals" depending on country....

s for those with disabilities.


On most rail systems, bicycles are allowed, but may be restricted. On buses, there are more such limitations.

Many buses now have external bike racks where riders can attach their bikes.

Sometimes, bikes are only allowed on buses if there is enough free space.
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