One of the perks of my job is that I get an Ecopass, and thus free fare for riding the Lightrail. It is super convenient, and I get a little exercise in the walk to and from the train station. All good.
When I first began riding, I was wondering if they ever verify that riders have paid the fare or had used a Clipper card for the ride, as for the first 5 weeks, I saw not even one fare enforcement officer.
Since that long dry spell, I have begun to see them frequently. Usually at least once a week, or more often, they would get on the train and verify proof of purchase. Today, there were two, both on the way in and on the way home.
Today, the fare enforcement officer caught a douchebag. When I got on the train at Cottle, there was someone already on the train. He was playing some game on his phone, and he had some annoying rap music playing in his backpack. I just ignored it and put my nose in my Kindle, minding my own business.
Then, at Bonaventura station, the fare enforcement officers got on. This “gentleman” who had obnoxious rap blaring, quickly turned it off. When the fare enforcement officer got to him, he admitted that he “forgot” to buy a ticket. The enforcement officer was really cool, and said that if he got off at the next stop and purchased a ticket, she would let him off with a warning. (BTW: Today I learnt that the fine for not having either a ticket or scanned your Clipper card is $287. Zoinks Scooby!) At the next stop, Orchard, this gentleman got off the train and the enforcement officers went to the rear car.
Seeing that the enforcement officers were on to the next car, this gentleman jumped back on the train (without buying a ticket), and thought he pulled a fast one.
Not today, the enforcement officer got back on and kicked him off. She still didn’t write him a ticket, even though he totally deserved it.
This afternoon, a similar story (without the gentleman trying to sneak back on). Still, it was cool that he was allowed to buy a ticket instead of getting a whopper of a fine.
Public transit is difficult enough to finance without riders scamming the system. It is shameful that so many people work the system.