by Lizz Giordano
Sound Transit is bringing back fines for non-payment on its trains and buses this fall after the agency paused fare enforcement during the pandemic, but it has also instituted a more lenient and accommodating system for riders who don’t pay their fare.
Continue reading Sound Transit Board Passes a More Lenient Policy Toward Non-Paying Riders
by Erica C. Barnett
(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
This Thursday, April 7, Sound Transit’s executive committee will take up a proposed new fare enforcement policy that would reinstate fines of up to $124 and impose legal penalties against riders who repeatedly fail to pay their fares. The new policy, if adopted, will go into effect on Sept. 1.
Continue reading Sound Transit Fare Enforcement Plan Could Send Riders to Court & Collections
by Lizz Giordano
Two years after Sound Transit acknowledged that internal data showed Black and low-income riders were more likely to be cited and punished for failing to pay on trains, the agency is still searching for a solution for fare enforcement equity.
According to 2018–2019 rider surveys and enforcement data, 9% of light rail and Sounder train riders were Black but accounted for 21% of the people cited or fined by officers. And nearly 60% of the riders cited had a household income of less than $50,000.
Continue reading Sound Transit Searching for Equitable Fare Enforcement Solutions
by Erica C. Barnett
(This article was originally published by PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
Legislation that would make it easier for Sound Transit to adopt a fare enforcement system that does not involve the court or criminal justice system is coasting through the state Senate after passing the House on a near-unanimous bipartisan vote.
House Bill 1301, originally sponsored by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34, Seattle), gives Sound Transit the authority to create an “alternative fare enforcement system” that could include resolutions other than fines for people who fail to pay their fare. The State Senate Transportation Committee voted unanimously on Tuesday to move the bill to the Rules Committee, the final step before a floor vote.
Continue reading Legislation Eliminates One Objection to Sound Transit Fare Enforcement Reform
by Rich Stolz and Anna Zivarts
Following years of local advocacy and heightened scrutiny by the movement for Black lives around enforcement practices, Sound Transit has announced a new approach to fare enforcement on public transit: the fare ambassador pilot program. This pivot from a punitive system to a supportive one is long overdue. Sound Transit and other agencies must see this process through and fully divorce its transit fare system from the court system. Failure to pay for a transit ticket — whether due to poverty or misunderstanding — should never place transit riders at risk for devastating legal, financial, or physical harm.
Continue reading OPINION: No One Should Go to Court Because They Can’t Afford a Transit Ticket
by Jack Russillo
After suspending fares in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, King County Metro will resume collecting fares on Thursday, October 1.
All county transit services — including buses, Access paratransit, Vanpool, and Via to Transit — will be requiring full fares. Fare collection is already taking place on Sound Transit Express buses and Link light rail. Like all Metro employees, Metro requires all riders to wear a face covering, as does Sound Transit. Per state public health guidelines, all trips should be for essential reasons only.
Metro has also suspended fare enforcement at least through the end of 2020. Fare enforcement officers will still be a presence around transit stops, but they will be providing a broader range of customer services, like answering transit or safety questions.
Continue reading King County Metro to Resume Collecting Fares Without Enforcement on October 1
by Alex Garland
Shouts of, “Nobody pays!” and “Black Friday deal, 100 percent off Light Rail fare!” could be heard as the doors opened at light rail stops from Mt. Baker to the University of Washington, when between 30 and 40 activists took their fight against what they considered to be class warfare on Nov. 29. Continue reading Black Friday Fare Strikers Protest Against Enforcement Policies