Maryland

DC Council Considers Bill to End Arrests for Metro Fare Evasion

When they meet Thursday, the D.C. Council will discuss a bill that would stop police from arresting fare evaders on Metro.

Often riders who pay don’t notice people drafting behind them. Rider Jade Miller said she sees it all the time and she’s sick of it.

"I pay my hard-working money to get on Metro, so why can’t they pay,” she said.

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Council member Trayon White, who represents Ward 8, introduced a bill that would decriminalize fare evasion in the District. He believes enforcement is unfair.

“There's been a 40 percent increase in arrests made by Metro as far as fare evasion,” he said. “We feel that it shouldn't be arrests. It should be more fines. We should be using that energy elsewhere."

Metro admits to a crackdown on fare evaders but disputes that 40 percent figure.

The transit agency put an ad in the Express paper Wednesday saying 92 percent of fare stops result in either a warning or citation and arrests are almost always the result of another crime, like an outstanding warrant.

Metro said it can't put an exact estimate on how much it's losing in fare evasion, but it is estimated in the tens of millions of dollars.

If passed, the Fare Evasion Decriminalization Act of 2017 would eliminate jail time and drop the fine from $300 to $100 for cheating bus or rail fare in the District.

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