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MATBUS Policies

MATBUS prides itself on providing safe, courteous and cost effective transportation in the Fargo-Moorhead area. For your convenience, we have listed several common polices below. This is not considered an exhaustive list of all our polices. MATBUS reserves the right to change, add or remove any of the polices listed below at any time.


Employees must not permit the placing or distribution of any advertising materials in vehicles except advertising authorized by the transit director/manager. Anyone requesting to place advertising materials on the bus must be referred to the transit director/manager. Employees are responsible for authorized advertisements and signs to ensure that they are not disturbed, soiled or mutilated. Employees are responsible for filling and maintaining the supply of transit brochures/schedules in display holders inside vehicles and facilities.


Dogs, cats, birds, or other animals shall not be permitted aboard a vehicle except under the following conditions:

  • Service animals are permitted to accompany persons with disabilities, but must be properly harnessed or leashed so as to restrain the animal. The service animal may be held on the owner’s lap or placed on the floor of the vehicle. The animal cannot be placed on the seat.
  • Patrol dogs are permitted when accompanied by a uniformed police patrol person.
  • Animals are permitted when properly caged, or in a container, and when not a nuisance or hazard to other passengers. The cage/container must be held on the owner’s lap and not take up another passenger’s seat. The cage/container cannot be placed on the floor or block the aisles.
    • The animal must be alive.

Service Animals: The ADA defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA, regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government. Emotional support animals are not considered service animals under ADA.

Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform for himself or herself. Some examples include:

  • Seeing eye dogs
  • Alerting persons with hearing impairments to sounds
  • Pulling wheelchairs or carrying and picking up things for persons with mobility impairments
  • Assisting persons with mobility impairments with their balance
  • Seizure response/alert animals that alert individuals with seizure disorders to oncoming seizures and/or help the individual during and following the seizure

Some, but not all, service animals wear special collars/harnesses, and are licensed or certified and have identification papers. If a bus operator is not certain that an animal is a service animal, they may ask the person who has the animal if it is a service animal required because of a disability. Bus operators may not request or require the passenger to show licensure or other proof that the animal is a certified service animal. Once it has been established that the animal is a service animal to a person with disabilities, the bus operator may not continue questioning the passenger each time they board with their animal.

The Department of Justice states:
You may exclude any animal, including a service animal, from your facility when that animal's behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. For example, any service animal that displays vicious behavior towards other passengers or the driver may be excluded. You may not make assumptions, however, about how a particular animal is likely to behave based on your past experience with other animals. Each situation must be considered individually.

Employee Conduct

Our drivers, dispatch and admin staff, represent the Fargo-Moorhead MATBUS Systems, both on and off the job, and must at all times be polite, courteous and respectful to passengers and co-workers. Employees shall not at any time swear, use vulgar or insulting language or hand gestures. Employees shall not have inappropriate conversations with passengers, concerning professional or personal topics including, but not limited to, politics, religion or health. Furthermore, any discourteous talk or reference about City officials, City employees, Contractor or MATBUS management to the riding public is expressly forbidden. For safety purposes, employees shall not talk to passengers while the bus is in motion, with the exception of short replies regarding bus stops or connecting routes.

Employees shall not smoke, drink, or eat while operating the bus or while physically on the bus while on duty. Nor shall employees give out food or beverages to any passengers. Smoking is prohibited on GTC Grounds, in vehicles or shelters and within 20-feet of any public building vehicle (according to North Dakota law) and only in designated locations at the Metro Transit Garage. Employees may not smoke while on duty.

Employees may not use any type of headphones, cellular phone or cellular phone accessory while driving/operating a transit vehicle or bus or while on duty; employees may use such devices while they are on a scheduled unpaid break only. The term “cellular phone” includes, but is not limited to: cell and mobile phones, mobile or other electronic devices for personal communications, handheld or hands-free electronic devices, ear buds, blue tooth, voice recognition, etc. Calls of an emergency nature for an employee in service may be made through the Dispatch office, and the Dispatcher shall communicate the emergency to the employee’s supervisor. Cellular phones will be turned “off” while an employee is in control of the transit vehicle; having the cellular phone in vibrate or silent mode will not be acceptable.

Firearms & Arrest

Possession of a firearm or any dangerous or destructive weapon, including but not limited to guns, swords, knives, bow and arrows, biological agents or toxins, is prohibited while in or near transit vehicles or facilities.

An employee must immediately, both verbally and in writing, inform their supervisor of any misdemeanor or felony arrests or convictions AND traffic violations or accidents whether in a transit or personal vehicle.

If an employee is at any time charged with a gross misdemeanor or felony, the employee may be placed on administrative leave until the completion of an investigation by the authorities, and possibly terminated if convicted.


Guest of employees must be reported to a supervisor prior to the guest arriving at the facility. The supervisor will have sole discretion as to whether or not the employee may have the guest in any MATBUS facilities or on board any MATBUS vehicles.

Joy Riding

Joy riding, which is defined as riding the bus for one full trip without deboarding is not allowed by passengers, employees, friends or relatives of employees. Any employee allowing joy riding of any person will be disciplined accordingly. Employees are to question passengers who do not deboard within one trip and assist them, if needed, in determining the route needed to reach their final destination.


Employees will monitor facilities and vehicles for persons loitering. Passengers and employees are not allowed to stay longer than their routes departure time without legitimate reason. If a passenger remaings at the facility after all routes have departed, the employee is to tell them they need to catch the next bus or they need to leave the facility or vehicle. If the passenger refuses to leave, dispatch will call the police or security firm and have them removed from the facility or vehicle and trespassed for the day. Employees who are not on duty and do not have supervisor permission for being at the facility or onboard a vehicle will be instructed to leave. Employees should only be at the GTC to pick up paychecks, time off requests, pick up additional hours or at the request of their supervisor.

The dispatch area is for dispatchers only. Bus operators are not permitted to be in dispatch without supervisor approval. If bus operators are in the dispatch area, they will be asked to leave. All bus operators have access to dispatchers through the window on the east side of the dispatch office.

Lost and Found

Employees must check the vehicle or their work area at the end of their shift for lost articles. Articles found must be turned in to the GTC dispatcher or the lost and found bucket at the MTG. Articles discovered by the maintenance technicians shall be placed in the MATBUS garage driver locker room lost and found container and brought to the GTC by the opening driver. If an article is found by a passenger and turned over to the driver, the driver should obtain the name and address of the finder, attach that information to the article, and turn it into the transit supervisor. When a found article contains money, the money must be counted in the presence of the person turning over the article to the driver and a note made of the amount, with both the driver and finder signing the note. Lost items will be kept for seven (7) days, and if not claimed, will be donated to charity or thrown away.

Passenger Rules

Passengers are required to follow basic rules while traveling on the MATBUS System for the comfort and safety of themselves, other bus patrons, our employees and to protect transit equipment and facilities. All Employees are to enforce these rules by following the procedures explained in the Refusing/Denying a Ride section.

Public Announcements (PA)

Use of the public address system along fixed routes is required under federal law, specifically the ADA. Disciplinary procedures will be instigated if the Public Address System policy is not adhered to by the driver. The purpose of the public address system is to:

  1. improve communication between the bus driver and passengers
  2. improve usability of public transportation for individuals who are sight-impaired or cannot recognize their destination
  3. assist riders in identifying landmarks when sight is impaired by darkness or weather conditions

RouteMatch is currently in use as the MATBUS Auto Voice Announcement (AVA) system and will automatically announce bus stops. However, in the event RouteMatch is not working, the route is on detour or additional stops are requested by a passenger, the driver will need to override the system and make announcements manually.

Interior Speakers:
The interior speakers are to be used whenever passengers are on board the bus to:

  • Announce major points or stops over the PA system
  • Announce specific intersections as requested by the passengers over the PA system
  • Communicate route deviations to the passengers
  • Communicate when bus is switching between interlining routes
  • Notify passengers when running behind schedule and request routes to be held to facilitate transfers

Exterior Speakers:
The exterior speakers are to be used whenever passengers are waiting at a transfer hub, or bus stop.

  • The bus operator will announce the route number of the vehicle when stopping at a transfer hub, or bus stop which is serviced by multiple bus routes.
    • Exterior announcements must be made manually by the driver.

Refusing / Denying a Ride

Employees shall NOT refuse a ride:

  • On the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, disability, sex or status with regard to public assistance because the individual's disability results in appearance or involuntary behavior that may offend, annoy, or inconvenience employees of the City, contractor or other person.

Employees may refuse a ride only after a warning has been issued to the passenger (discreetly and with notification to the dispatcher) to any individual or group of individuals who:

  • Could imperil the health or safety of other passengers by engaging in violent, seriously disruptive, or illegal conduct
  • Is behaving in an offensive or destructive manner, including panhandling
  • Appears or leads the bus operator or dispatcher to conclude that the passenger will exhibit disruptive behavior that would pose a safety threat not only to the driver or dispatcher but also the other passengers, including, but not limited to, intoxication and use of illegal drugs
  • Is not following passenger rules after being asked to correct their behavior

Procedure for Correcting Behavior: When a bus operator, dispatcher, or supervisor sees or hears passengers behaving in an offensive or destructive manner or breaking passenger rules, he/she should first explain what conduct is offending conduct the passenger is committing and ask the passenger to discontinue or change their behavior. If the passenger does not respond to this request, they should be asked to leave the bus or facility peacefully (for that particular trip ONLY) in a safe location nearby a commercial building with shelter and telephones. However, if a situation develops that the bus operator or dispatcher feels could lead to an altercation or harm to anyone if the matter is pursued, the driver or dispatcher should say nothing to the passenger. Where it is possible to obtain assistance from a supervisor or police officer without placing anyone in danger, bus operators or dispatchers shall request their aid in handling the situation. The bus operator or dispatcher must use his/her own judgment in refusing a ride and must never do so in an unsafe or uninhabited area. The safety of the other passengers and bus operator or dispatcher should be considered before any action is taken. A small child, a person of unsound mind, or a person in a feeble or helpless condition unable to take care of themselves shall not be removed from the bus or transit facility, but if conditions warrant, shall be turned over to a police officer or someone in a supervisory capacity. Bus operators or dispatchers must NEVER forcibly remove a passenger.

Bus operators should ask passengers who wish to file a complaint about another passengers’ behavior to contact the dispatcher or transit office to complete a complaint form so that the issue can be recorded and investigated.

The Transit Director or Transit Manager may choose to suspend or trespass a passenger from the transit system for a specified period of time should that passenger engage in illegal, violent, threatening or other egregious manner. The bus operator or dispatcher may be asked to deliver such suspension letter directly to a passenger in the absence of a mailing address.

The Transit Director or Transit Manager may require a personal care attendant when transporting a passenger that has a documented medical or documented behavioral condition that could pose an unsafe situation for either the driver or any of the passengers.

Route & Passenger Stops

Bus operators are not to disregard time points. All time points are listed on the MATBUS schedules. Separate lists of all time points are in every vehicle above the driver’s seat for quick reference. Bus operators are to know the time points for the routes they are driving and will not be allowed to leave a time point early for any reason.


Soliciting, collecting money from, or circulating petitions among employees, passengers, or the general public while on duty or upon city or contractor property is not permitted unless specifically authorized in writing by the transit director/manager.

Employees are prohibited from soliciting, accepting any tips or gift of any kind or working/discussing a second job relating to the provision of services under this agreement.

Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs

Employees on duty are not permitted to smoke. Smoking while in the vehicle, in the entrance of the vehicle or transit facility, or on the transit facility grounds is prohibited by the state North Dakota, including smoking within 20’ feet of a public entrance, operable window or vent.

In compliance with federal regulations, a written Substance Abuse Policy regarding drugs and alcohol is available by your employer and that policy must be read and understood by employee and adhered to at all times. The federally mandated drug and alcohol testing includes pre-employment (drug only), reasonable suspicion, random and post-accident testing.

An employee shall not drive or be in active control of any vehicle owned or operated by the Cities of Fargo or Moorhead, report for duty or remain on duty when under the influence of any intoxicating liquor or beverage, nor shall an employee drink or possess intoxicating liquor while on duty.

The possession, use or being under the influence of any narcotic, amphetamine, or other dangerous or habit-forming drug or controlled substance is prohibited at all times. This paragraph does not apply to the possession or use of a substance administered to an employee by or under the instructions of physician who certifies in writing to the ability to operate the clients or contractor’s equipment; provided the client/contractor will have the discretion to determine whether such employee will be permitted to go on duty.

Any prescribed medication should be reported to the contractor supervisor. Employees are responsible for knowing the side effects of prescription and over-the-counter medications. The carrying of intoxicants or drugs other than those prescribed by a physician while in the vehicle is prohibited at all times. An employee found to be in possession of, or under the influence of intoxicants, or illegal and dangerous drugs while on duty will be subject to termination.

The City of Fargo and City of Moorhead reserve the right to require contracted employers to perform blood alcohol test, breathalyzer, or any other means required to test for alcohol/drug usage by an employee.

Wheelchair / Ramp Operations

  1. All bus operators will be trained in the safe and proper use and maintenance of access related equipment.
  2. All bus operators will be trained to understand the different abilities of persons with disabilities and the various types of mobility aids that passengers will be using. Training will include:
    • Passenger Assistance Training
    • Sensitivity Training
  3. Bus operators will check operation of ramps/lifts, securement systems, and other access-related features as part of their daily equipment inspection. Bus operators are required to report accessible equipment failures to maintenance personnel as soon as possible.
  4. According to the ADA, transit providers must carry a wheelchair and occupant if the lift and vehicle can physically accommodate them, unless doing so is inconsistent with legitimate safety requirements. "Legitimate safety requirements" includes such circumstances as a wheelchair of such size that it would block an aisle, or would be too large to enter the vehicle, or would interfere with the safe evacuation of passengers in an emergency. MATBUS ramps and lifts are not to be used for mobility devices more than 600 pounds when occupied or the manufacturer's weight limit.
  5. The driver may assist the passenger in fare payment if requested to do so, or the driver may suggest easier or more efficient fare payment methods or special user card display techniques. However, such assistance will not include the removal of cash/tokens from a purse. Passengers may ask bus operators to remove the fare from a special container that is readily available and easily identifiable as containing their fare (such as zip lock bag).
  6. The driver will provide assistance upon request or when needed to individuals with disabilities in boarding and disembarking. If the bus stop location has a curb, the ramp will be placed on the curb to lessen the angle of the ramp. If deemed necessary, the driver may refer passengers with disabilities to the MATBUS Mobility Manager, who will arrange training opportunities to increase the passenger’s proficiency in boarding and disembarking.
  7. All wheeled mobility aids (wheelchairs, scooters, etc.) must be correctly secured during transport with all four tie-down, three tie-down or electronic arm securement, depending on the securement type, provided on the bus. Once the mobility device is properly secured, the driver will inform dispatch on the radio “10-99, all point secured” before the vehicle is set in motion. If the passenger refuses to let you secure the mobility aids mentioned in this paragraph, you must deny the ride. If the passenger transfers themselves onto a regular seat, the mobility aid must still be secured correctly. Passengers must be asked if they would like the lap and shoulder belt secured after the securement of their chair. The lap and shoulder belt is an additional safety tool for passengers to be secured while riding in their chair. Bus operators must verbally ask each passenger if they wish to utilize this feature and receive a response from the passenger indicating they do or do not want to use the additional securement.

    According to ADA, if the transit operator has a policy that requires securement, or if a rider asks that the wheelchair be secured, Section 37.165(f) of the DOT’s ADA regulations requires transit personnel to use their best efforts to secure the mobility device. Section 37.165(d) states that transit operators cannot refuse to accommodate a common wheelchair – including a scooter or other specialized mobility device that complies with the ADA regulation’s specifications -- because the wheelchair cannot be secured to the driver’s satisfaction. Given the diversity of ""common"" wheelchairs, transit operators should consult with the manufacturers of securement devices and wheelchairs, as well as the owner of the wheelchair, to determine the best means of securement.
  8. Before lowering the ramp/lift, the driver will move any passengers seated in the wheelchair securement area and fold up the seats. The driver will then deploy the ramp/lift and ask the passenger if they would like assistance in boarding the bus. The driver will engage the securement devices, namely the wheelchair tie-downs and the seat belts. The driver will also ensure that the passenger has engaged the personal wheelchair seat belt. NOTE: Use of seat belts is the option of the passenger on fixed route only.
  9. The driver will stow all securement devices immediately following usage.
  10. The ramps/lifts will be deployed on request of any passenger, whether or not they appear to have a disability.
  11. The driver will announce any stop on request of an individual with a disability.
  12. Service animals are permitted to accompany persons with disabilities.
  13. The driver will allow an individual with a disability to travel with a respirator or portable oxygen supply consistent with the Department of Transportation rules governing transportation of hazardous materials.
  14. If wheelchair slots are full, the driver will inform the passenger that he/she may attempt to board the next run.
  15. If an accessible vehicle is not available due to regular maintenance or repairs, the driver will contact the GTC to arrange alternative transportation.
  16. If the driver judges the deboarding point to be unsafe for equipment or passengers (due to accumulated snow, ice, etc.), an alternate site on the route may be selected. For example, a nearby driveway cleared of snow could accommodate a wheelchair.
  17. The driver will coordinate transfers by radio contact with the GTC.
  18. Bus operators shall follow the Policy for Using the Public Address System, including announcing key points, communicating with passengers, and announcing requested stops.
  19. Allow all other passengers to get on or off the vehicle before deploying the ramp/lift.
  20. Inquire if the person has used the ramp/lift before. If not, explain briefly what to do to get on and off.
  21. Caution all other passengers to remain clear of the ramp/lift while it is in operation.
  22. If necessary, assist the person to his or her seat. Inquire as to their destination.
  23. If the person boarding is standing and appears unsteady, the driver may suggest a companion accompany him or her on the ramp.
  24. Bus operators are to use manual override when mechanical ramp/lift mechanism fails. Malfunctions are to be reported to the dispatcher to await instructions regarding changing vehicles. Convey these instructions to passengers and give transfer information if possible.
  25. Bus operators are not expected to repair ramps/lifts or remove stranded passengers from vehicles except in extreme emergency situations. Tie down cutters are available on board the bus for use in emergencies.
  26. Bus operators are not expected to leave the vehicle area to pick up or drop off a passenger (door-to-door service).
  27. Bus operators do not have to transport a standing person with disabilities who refuses to hold the handrails or who stands on the ramp/lift in an unsafe manner.
  28. Bus operators are to assist the person off the ramp/lift and into the bus corridor if necessary. Bus operators are responsible for folding up the seats when the area is needed for securing of wheelchairs.
  29. The driver shall notify their supervisor if time schedules need to be adjusted because of consistent patterns of travel by persons with disabilities resulting in late trips or missed transfers.
  30. Driver is to ask passengers to move from the reserved seating area to other open seats or standing room to accommodate a wheelchair or other people with disabilities in the designated securement area.

Violance & Vandalism

An employee must not engage in a physical encounter with anyone except to defend him/herself or a passenger in the event of a direct physical attack. WARNING: An employee may use only that degree of force necessary to subdue the attacker and restore order. Violence may or may not involve you--it may be two passengers who suddenly start fighting or cause a disturbance. Contact the dispatcher immediately. Ask for police assistance. The employee should secure names and addresses of witnesses to the incident and make a written report. The employee is to report threats to passengers or themselves.

Observe the person and report their appearance to law enforcement. Include in the description: number of persons, height, weight, sex, age, skin color, hair color, eye color, unusual marks (scars, tattoos), speech, nationality, clothing, personality, method of operation (weapon, left/right handed, orders/words given, unusual mannerisms).