Metrobus has too many free riders

The Washington Post - - FREE FOR ALL -

I agree with the Dec. 2 edi­to­rial “Just how egre­gious is Metro fare eva­sion?,” which sup­ported the Wash­ing­ton Metropoli­tan Area Tran­sit Au­thor­ity’s con­cerns about the de­crim­i­nal­iza­tion of fare eva­sion. I moved to the Dis­trict near the end of the use of pa­per bus tick­et­ing. Be­fore my move, I had lived in New York for most of my life and had al­ways used New York’s mass tran­sit sys­tem. The dif­fer­ence be­tween res­i­dents’ at­ti­tudes to­ward pay­ment of fares in the two cities was strik­ing to me. Un­der the pa­per sys­tem, tick­ets were only ran­domly scru­ti­nized; this cava­lier at­ti­tude to­ward pay­ment con­tin­ues to­day. In con­trast, peo­ple in New York ex­pect to pay their fare or leave the bus.

I ride the Metrobus sys­tem al­most ev­ery day, and on al­most ev­ery ride I see peo­ple get on with­out pay­ing, and they do it with the per­mis­sion of the bus driver. In the 14 years of my res­i­dence here, I have never seen any­one asked to leave a bus for non­pay­ment; no one has been ar­rested. When there is a long line, peo­ple are just shuf­fled onto the bus. I won­der why I con­sis­tently pay when other peo­ple’s non­pay­ment is deemed an ac­cept­able prac­tice.

De­crim­i­nal­iz­ing this be­hav­ior only serves to fur­ther green­light cit­i­zen law­break­ing and de­prive mass tran­sit of sorely needed funds. Ruth Ce­cire, Wash­ing­ton

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