How would that work when you have an out-of-town visitor from, say, Chicago, visiting Portland for a week, gets hit with a ticket because they forgot their phone charger and the phone died? How is that person going to be able to defend themselves against a $175 ticket - by having to buy another trip to Portland?
The simplest solution is for TriMet to actually be CUSTOMER FOCUSED. First offense - be allowed to buy a fare at the next available location, or receive a $10 "penalty fare" citation (the citation also serves as an all-day pass). Second offense (within a rolling 12 months), same. Third offense (within a rolling 12 months) - be charged with Theft of Services. That way everyone is guaranteed two strikes before hit with a large fine.
To which Cwherewetakeu replies
It would seem that simple SP, but not so. You "get cranky" about bus service and the buses in general getting the shaft, then when you're getting in 3-5 new buses in a week and things are turning around in the direction you've been wanting, you find a new direction to moap about. Are you EVER happy about anything?
You and Al both complain about how these inspectors (or Gestapos as Al likes to put it) like to put it to the little guy. Not true (like ANY job..there are always exceptions). Yea, I'll agree that $175 for a fine IS a bit excessive, but I'll only come down half way on that and lower it to $85-90 bucks.
Here's why: Out of that $ 175, IF it's not their first offense and the ticket doesn't get lowered, TriMet gets about $50 of it. Contrary to the "facts" being spewed by commenters, they don't get rich off it. The city and county get the rest. If the ticket gets lowered (such as the case on "TriMet Tuesdays"), then TriMet can very well only see $5-10 bucks or nothing at all. (or community service...same thing...nada)
I've watched many of these guys who cite the fare evaders. ON AVERAGE (not every day) out of every 10 people stopped; 7 are prior offenders with MORE than 1 prior offense (so they havn't learned their lesson), 2 are genuinely first time offenders that have reasonably legit excuses so they play the odds--to cite or not to cite, and the one remaining...they are the one that had the problem with the ticket machine. (The particular inspector I was with took down the phone number of the person being cited-said if they go to the machine and it is broken, they will call the passenger up and tell them to tear up the ticket. If it's working (any one of the machines accepting CASH and card on either platform)..the cite stands.
I don't agree with the "three strikes and your out" or the $10-20 fine thing. That makes absolutely NO incentive whatsoever to pay a fare, worry about getting caught or have hesitation if they think they should risk it. The passenger SHOULD think when they are debating about riding without a fare that if I get caught it's gonna hurt me in the pocketbook. They should know they are taking the risk. You don't charge a shoplifter who steals a pair of jeans just the price of the jeans if they are caught. You charge them $250-500 plus the possibility of jail time so they think twice about doing it.
To which I reply
Usually I agree with most everything that chwherittakesu writes, however not this time.
However you do agree that the fine is excessive, so you do have some understanding of the plight of the vast majority of citizens out here.
The way things are set up now is a clear example of government 'predation' pure and simple. The fine does not fit the crime, there is no possible way to justify it either. It's completely wrong and immoral.
The reason I call inspectors Gestapo , I actually don't use that term any longer I call them TRISTAPO is because they use the exact same techniques as the Gestapo used in Germany. Boarding trains and checking papers randomly without probable cause. The inspectors make the assumption that everyone is a fare evader and everyone that is inspected is expected to give up their rights and comply. That is fascism, you have no rights in the face of random inspections.
Let me take this one step further, I assume you have been working at Trimet at least 15 years so you are fully aware that for 10 years prior to Herr Mcfarlane showing up there was a large fareless square and minimal investment made to enforcement. Trimet did not make the necessary obligations to secure their transit system but decided 'walk on' was somehow preferable.
Then Mcfarlane shows up and decides that everything needs to change, except the securment of the stations. If Trimet was serious about fares rather than intruding on peoples lives they would have secured the stations, heavens knows they spend multimillions on everything else.
Mcfarlane then raises the fares to the level of highest in the country for short trips and hires dozens of white shirted Tristapo to plague riders. Add to that TVM's that don't work and what you have is one of the most abusive transit systems in the world. Ridership has plummeted under Mcfarlanes iron fisted rule.
You comment that 'trimet doesn't get rich off the fines'. What you forget to understand is that Trimet is a cog in the thing called 'government machinery'. The fine is used to pay for other governmental operations. You hear Trimet big shots always referring to their 'partners'. Well those 'partners' are other governmental units and you may be aware that there are constant 'intergovernmental agreements' between them. In other words, THEY SUPPORT EACH OTHER.
And in regards to this comment:
""They should know they are taking the risk. You don't charge a shoplifter who steals a pair of jeans just the price of the jeans if they are caught. You charge them $250-500 plus the possibility of jail time so they think twice about doing it.''
But then you make this comment:
"""I've watched many of these guys who cite the fare evaders. ON AVERAGE (not every day) out of every 10 people stopped; 7 are prior offenders with MORE than 1 prior offense (so they havn't learned their lesson),"""
You've just proved yourself wrong, THE FARE CITATIONS DON'T EVEN WORK AS A DETERRENT TO REPEAT OFFENDERS! REPEAT OFFENDERS OBVIOUSLY ARE NOT WORRIED AT ALL ABOUT THE STUPID FARE EVASION RULES BECAUSE THERE IS NO REAL PENALTY FOR IGNORING THEM. So they go to jail for a night, they obviously don't fear that much, they probably brag about it
TriMet to fare app users: Dead battery? Good luck with that | OregonLive.comt.