Ordinances Regarding Bare Feet on the Washington Metro


Fairfax County, VA

Arlington County, VA

Montgomery County, MD

The following communities in Montgomery County, MD, have specifically allowed the Montgomery County transit ordinances to be enforced within them:

Town of Barnesville, Town of Brookville, Chevy Chase View, Chevy Chase Section 3, Chevy Chase Section 5, City of Gaithersburg, Town of Glen Echo, Village of Martin's Additions, Village of North Chevy Chase, City of Rockville, and City of Takoma Park.

The following communities have not allowed those ordinances to be enforced:

Chevy Chase Village, Town of Chevy Chase, Town of Garrett Park, Town of Kensington, Town of Laytonsville, Town of Poolseville, Town of Somerset, and Town of Washington Grove.

See this table from Montgomery County.

Falls Church, VA

District of Columbia

While the District of Columbia has an ordinance regulating behavior on the Metro (and looks quite similar to the other ordinances) it does not prohibit bare feet.

I was unable to find on-line ordinances for the following nearby jurisdictions: Prince Georges County, MD; Vienna, VA.

The following jurisdictions have their ordinances on-line, but do not ban bare feet on the Metro (in fact, they do not even address the Metro): Alexandria, VA, Herndon, VA, Manassas, VA, Leesburg, VA, Prince William County, VA Frederick County, VA, Chevy Chase, MD,

The Metro itself has no signs or displays regularly banning bare feet. In fact, the brochure that they issue for July 4th festivities includes the statement, "In addition to our regular restrictions, no bare feet . . .", which certainly implies that they are OK the rest of the year. Nonetheless, if you write them for their rules, those rules do ban bare feet.



Fairfax County, VA

Available from the Fairfax County Government website. Click on "County Code".

Section 85-1-3. Conduct on public vehicle regulated; penalty.

  1. It shall be unlawful for passengers or occupants, while aboard a public passenger vehicle not used primarily for the transportation of schoolchildren while said public passenger vehicle is transporting passengers in regular route service, contract service, special or community-type service, or any person in a rail transit station to:

    1. Smoke or carry a lighted or smoldering pipe, cigar or cigarette or open flame;

    2. Consumer food or drink;

    3. Discard litter;

    4. Play any radio, cassette recorder or other such instrument, except where the same is connected to an earphone that limits the sound to the individual user;

    5. Carry any flammable liquids, live animals, birds, reptiles, explosives, acids and other dangerous articles except for guide dogs properly harnessed and accompanied by handicapped passengers and small animals properly packaged;

    6. Stand in front of the white line marked on the forward end of the floor of any public passenger vehicle, or otherwise conduct himself in such manner as to obstruct the vision or function of the operator;

    7. Board any public passenger vehicle through the rear exit door, unless so directed by an employee or agent of the operator;

    8. Cause a disturbance by running, climbing through windows or upon seats, obstructing passage or use of escalators or elevators, or otherwise endangering passengers or employees of the operator;

    9. Wear, operate, utilize or cause to be operated or utilized roller skates, skateboards, pogo sticks, noncollapsible baby carriages, wagons or cars unless so directed by an employee or agent of the operator;

    10. Park, operate, carry or wheel or chain to any fence, railing or other structure, or cause to be parked, operated carried or wheeled or chained to any fence, railing or other structure, bicycles, tricycles, unicycles, mopeds, motorbikes or any motor-driven vehicle;

    11. Violate or cause to be violated the fire ordinances of Fairfax County;

    12. Enter or exit from or remain in a rail transit station or public passenger vehicle or ride on escalators or elevators in a rail transit station with bare feet;

    13. Vend, sell or attempt to vend or sell any item, thing or device.

  2. Violation of any provisions of this Section shall be punishable by a fine of not less than Five Dollars ($5.00) nor more than Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00) for each offense.

(16-75-17, 5-12-75; Va. Code Ann., § 56-329; 22-77-85; 14-84-85; 19-85-85.)





Arlington County, VA

Available from the Arlington County Residents website. Click on "County Code".

ARTICLE IV. WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA TRANSIT AUTHORITY

§ 14.2-80. Prohibited conduct.

  1. For the purposes of this article, and unless otherwise specified herein, a "rail transit station" is a regular rail stopping place for the pick-up and discharge of passengers in regular route service, contract service, special or community type service, including the fare-paid areas and roofed areas of the rail transit stations (not bus terminals or bus stops) owned, operated, or controlled by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).

    It shall be unlawful for passengers or occupants, while aboard a public passenger vehicle, including buses and rapid rail passenger cars capable of seating twelve (12) or more passengers, owned, operated, or controlled by WMATA while said public passenger vehicle is transporting passengers in regular route service, contract service, special or community type service, or any person in a rail transit station owned, operated, or controlled by WMATA to:

    1. Park, operate, carry, wheel or chain to any fence, tree, railing, or other structure not specifically designated for such use, or cause to be parked, operated, carried, wheeled, or chained to any fence, tree, railing or other structure not specifically designed for such use, bicycles, tricycles, unicycles, mopeds, motor bikes, or any other such vehicle, unless said person has in his possession a valid current permit issued by WMATA for the transporting of noncollapsible bicycles by rail transit and said person is complying with all terms and conditions of said permit.

  2. It shall be unlawful for passengers or occupants while aboard a public passenger vehicle or a person in a rail transit station owned and/or operated by WMATA, within the corporate (designated) limits of Arlington County to:

    1. Smoke or carry lighted or smoldering pipe, cigar, or cigarette;

    2. Consume food or drink;

    3. Spit;

    4. Discard litter;

    5. Play any radio, tape recorder, or similar instrument, unless the same is connected to an earphone that limits the sound to the individual user;

    6. Carry any flammable liquids, live animals, birds, reptiles, explosives, acid, and other dangerous articles defined in Code of Virginia, Section 18.2-278.1, except for guide dogs properly harnessed and accompanied by handicapped passengers and small animals properly packaged;

    7. Stand in front of the white line marked on the forward and end of the floor of any bus, or otherwise conduct himself in such manner as to obstruct the vision or function of the operator;

    8. Board any bus through the rear exit door, unless so directed by an employee or agent of the carrier;

    9. Refuse to leave a bus or rail vehicle after having been ordered to do so by the operator or other designated agent of the WMATA;

    10. Run, climb through windows or on seats, obstruct passage, obstruct the use of elevators or escalators, or otherwise endanger a passenger;

    11. Wear or use roller skates, skateboards, baby carriages or strollers that are not readily collapsible, wagons or carts, unless permitted by an operator;

    12. Walk with bare feet;

    13. Sell or try to sell anything;

    14. Be on a track, tunnel, catwalk, or any other part of the rail transit system without the express written permission of WMATA;

    15. Ride on top of or on the side of any vehicle or between two (2) rail transit cars without the express written permission of WMATA; and

    16. Mark or draw on a station or vehicle.

  3. It shall be unlawful, except in an emergency, for any person while aboard a public passenger vehicle owned, operated, or controlled by WMATA while said vehicle is transporting passengers in regular route service, contract service, special service, or community type service, within the corporate (designated) limits of Arlington County, to open, stop, impede, or interfere with the doors of a public passenger vehicle, or otherwise obstruct the operation of public passenger vehicles or transit facilities.

(6-4-77; 6-20-81; Ord. No. 85-33, 8-17-85; Ord. No. 87-21, 7-11-87; Ord. No. 88-11, 6-25-88; Ord. No. 92-33, 7-11-92)


§ 14.2-81. Failure to pay fares.

It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly board a public passenger vehicle of the WMATA which is transporting passengers in regular route service, without paying the established fare, board a rail transit car or enter the paid area of the WMATA rail system without the farecard required for such entry and boarding or leave the paid area without having presented a valid farecard or otherwise paying the established fare or board without presenting a valid transfer or pass for transportation on a public passenger vehicle or on a rail transit car.

(6-4-77; Ord. No. 84-28, 9-8-84; Ord. No. 88-11, 6-25-88; Ord. No. 92-33, 7-11-92)


§ 14.2-82. Violations.

Violations of this article shall be punishable by a fine of not less than ten dollars ($10.00) nor more than fifty dollars ($50.00) for a first offense, and not less than fifty dollars ($50.00) nor more than one hundred dollars ($100.00) or ten (10) days in jail, or both, for each second or subsequent offense.

(11-9-74; Ord. No. 88-11, 6-25-88; Ord. No. 92-33, 7-11-92)





Montgomery County, MD

Available from the Montgomery County Government website. Click on "Charter and County Code".

Sec. 54A-2. Prohibited conduct.

A passenger in a public passenger vehicle or a person in a rail transit station must not:

  1. Smoke or carry a lighted or smoldering pipe, cigar or cigarette;

  2. Consume food or drink;

  3. Spit;

  4. Discard litter, other than in an approved receptacle;

  5. Play any radio, tape recorder or similar instrument, unless the instrument is connected to an earphone that limits the sound to the individual user;

  6. Carry any flammable liquids not in a sealed container, live animals, birds, reptiles, explosives, acids or any other item inherently dangerous or offensive to others, except:

    1. Guide dogs properly harnessed and accompanied by handicapped passengers; and

    2. Small animals properly packaged and hand-carried;

  7. Stand, sit, or lie in front of the white line marked on the forward end of the floor of a vehicle, or otherwise obstruct the vision or function of the operator;

  8. Board any vehicle through the rear exit door or a signed emergency exit, unless so directed by an operator;

  9. Knowingly board a vehicle or knowingly enter or leave a fare-paid area of a rail transit station without paying the fare or presenting a valid transfer;

  10. Run, climb through windows or on seats, obstruct passage, obstruct the use of elevators or escalators, or otherwise endanger a passenger or operator;

  11. Wear or use roller skates, skateboards, baby carriages or strollers that are not readily collapsible, wagons or carts, unless permitted by an operator;

  12. Walk with bare feet;

  13. Sell or try to sell anything;

  14. Operate, carry, or park any bicycle, tricycle, unicycle, motorcycle, motorbike or similar vehicle, unless:

    1. The person carries a valid permit from WMATA or the county to transport the vehicle; and

    2. The person complies with all conditions of the permit;

  15. Be on a track, tunnel, catwalk, or any other part of the rail transit system without the express written permission of WMATA;

  16. Ride on top of or on the side of any vehicle, or between two (2) rail transit cars, without the express written permission of WMATA or the county; or

  17. Mark or draw on a station or vehicle.

(1976 L.M.C., ch. 10, § 1; 1977 L.M.C., ch. 34, § 1; 1987 L.M.C., ch. 46, § 1.)





Falls Church, VA

Available from the Falls Church website. Click on "City Code".

Sec. 20-64. Prohibited conduct.

  1. It shall be unlawful for passengers or occupants while aboard a public passenger vehicle owned, operated or controlled by WMATA, within the corporate limits of Falls Church City to:

    1. Smoke or carry lighted or smoldering pipe, cigar or cigarette;

    2. Consume food or drink;

    3. Spit;

    4. Discard litter;

    5. Play any radio, tape recorder or similar instrument, unless the same is connected to an earphone that limits the sound to the individual user;

    6. Carry any flammable liquids, live animals, birds, reptiles, explosives, acid and other dangerous articles defined in Code of Virginia, Section 18.2-278.1, except for guide dogs properly harnessed and accompanied by handicapped passengers, and small animals properly packaged;

    7. Stand in front of the white line marked on the forward and end of the floor of any bus, or otherwise conduct himself in such manner as to obstruct the vision or function of the operator;

    8. Board any bus through the rear exit door, unless so directed by an employee or agent of the carrier;

    9. Refuse to leave a bus after having been ordered to do so by the operator or other designated agent of WMATA;

    10. Run, climb through windows or on seats, obstruct passage, obstruct the use of elevators, or otherwise endanger a passenger;

    11. Wear or use roller skates, skateboards, baby carriages or strollers that are not readily collapsible, wagons or carts, unless permitted by an operator;

    12. Walk with bare feet;

    13. Sell or try to sell anything;

    14. Ride on top or on the side of any vehicle without the express written permission of WMATA; and

    15. Mark, draw on, or damage a bus stop or vehicle.

  2. It shall be unlawful, except in an emergency, for any person while aboard a public passenger vehicle owned, operated or controlled by WMATA, while said vehicle is transporting passengers in regular route service, contract service, special service or community type service, within the corporate limits of Falls Church City, to open, stop, impede or interfere with the doors of a public passenger vehicle, or otherwise obstruct the operation of public passenger vehicles, or transit facilities.

(Ord. No. 1352, 4-9-91; Ord. No. 1538, 2-26-96)





District of Columbia

Available at Westgroup.

§ 35-251. Unlawful conduct on public passenger vehicles.
(Division V; Title 35; Subtitle I; Chapter 2; Subchapter III)

  1. For the purposes of this section, the term "rail transit station" means a regular rail stopping place for the pick-up and discharge of passengers in regular route service, contract service, special or community-type service, including the fare-paid areas and roofed areas of the rail transit stations (not bus terminals or bus stops) owned, operated, or controlled by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority; provided, that the term "rail transit station" shall not include parking lots, roadways and other areas intended for vehicle traffic.

  2. It is unlawful for any person either while aboard a public passenger vehicle with a capacity for seating 12 or more passengers, including vehicles owned and/or operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which is transporting passengers in regular route service within the corporate limits of the District of Columbia; or while aboard a rail transit car owned and/or operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority which is transporting passengers within the corporate limits of the District of Columbia; or while within a rail transit station owned and/or operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority which is located within the corporate limits of the District of Columbia to:

    1. Smoke or carry a lighted or smoldering pipe, cigar, or cigarette;

    2. Consume food or drink;

    3. Spit;

    4. Discard litter;

    5. Play any radio, cassette, recorder, musical instrument or other such device, unless it is connected to an earphone that limits the sound to the individual user;

    6. Carry any flammable or combustible liquids, live animals, explosives, acids or any other item inherently dangerous or offensive to others, except for seeing eye dogs properly harnessed and accompanied by a blind passenger and for small animals properly packaged;

    7. Stand in front of the white line marked on the forward end of the floor of any bus or otherwise conduct himself in such a manner as to obstruct the vision of the operator;

    8. Park, operate, wheel, or chain to any fence, tree, railing, or other structure not specifically designated for such use, tricycles, unicycles, skateboards, or roller skates;

    9. Park, operate, carry, wheel, or chain to any fence, tree, railing, or other structure not specifically designated for such use, mopeds, motorbikes, or any other such vehicle;

    10. Park, operate, carry, wheel, or chain to any fence, tree, railing, or other structure not specifically designated for such use, noncollapsible bicycles, unless an individual has a current permit issued by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for the transporting of noncollapsible bicycles by rail transit and the individual is complying with all the terms and conditions of said permit; provided, that an individual shall surrender said permit upon the request or demand of any agent or employee of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Sections 35-252 and 35-252 shall not apply to a violation of the terms and conditions of said permit.

  3. It is unlawful for any person, while aboard a rail transit car which is transporting passengers within the District of Columbia, knowingly to cause the doors of any rail transit car to open by activating a safety device designed to allow emergency evacuation of passengers. It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this subsection that the person charged believed, in good faith, that the action was necessary to protect people from injury or death.

  4. It is unlawful for any person at a rail transit station to stop, impede, interfere with, or tamper with an escalator or elevator or any part of an escalator or elevator apparatus or to use an escalator or elevator emergency stop button, unless this action is taken by a person with the knowledge or the reasonable good faith belief that an emergency makes the action necessary to preserve or protect human life or property, or unless such action is taken by a WMATA employee, other government employees, or WMATA contractor acting pursuant to their official duties.

(Sept. 23, 1975, D.C. Law 1-18, § 2, 22 DCR 1994; Feb. 22, 1978, D.C. Law 2-40, § 2, 24 DCR 3344; Sept. 18, 1981, D.C. Law 4-31, § 2, 28 DCR 3120; June 29, 1984, D.C. Law 5-91, § 3(a), 31 DCR 2539; Oct. 1, 1992, D.C. Law 9-171, § 2(a), 39 DCR 5831.)