Metro Transit begins fare enforcement on bus routes

Metro Transit begins fare enforcement on bus routes

Metro Transit begins fare enforcement on bus routes

Metro Transit Police say officers will now inspect fares on bus routes in addition to the light rail. 

5 INVESTIGATES has reported extensively on Metro Transit’s efforts to crack down on crime starting with enforcing fares on trains

Metro Transit officials say routes in Brooklyn Center have been a hotspot for counterfeit tickets. Officials say riders have been taking screenshots of old tickets on their app and reusing them without bus drivers noticing. 

Metro Transit Police Chief Ernest Morales III plans to put a stop to fare dodging. Community service officers and, eventually, agents from a private security company called TRIP will check for tickets on Metro Transit’s C and D bus lines.

Interim TRIP manager Leah Palmer says since fare enforcement began in December on light rail trains, 1,200 people have been given citations but only a small fraction have paid.

“We have seen about 38 of the citations be paid to the various degrees,” Palmer said.

First-time offenders are fined up to $35. A second violation is $55, and a third is $75, plus a 60-day ban from transit service. 

Palmer says fare enforcement is only part of their job. 

“They also frequently check people’s welfare, you know, when you walk into a train and you see people sleeping, TRIP agents will go and wake people up and make sure that they’re doing okay,” Palmer explained.

With Metro Transit being short nearly 70 officers, the chief says private security and community service officers are crucial.

“The whole overall objective is to pull back all police officers having to deal with crime,” Morales said. “What we definitely want is more of a human presence so people feel safe and comfortable returning back and utilizing our system.”

Transit officials say over half a million people in the metro can apply to get rides for only $1 as part of the TAP program for low-income riders.