Fare evasion for light rail is costly

Daily Editorial Board

The Metropolitan Council released the findings of its Light Rail Fare Compliance audit, revealing that fare dodgers cost Metro Transit between $15,849 and $28,343 every week. If the trend continues unchecked, the transit agency could lose up to $1.47 million annually. The auditâÄôs results show that the evasion rate on the Blue Line is between 2.6 and 3.6 percent. This translates to a weekly loss of $4,600 to $6,400. The evasion rate on the Green Line, which passes through the heart of the University of Minnesota campus, is between 1 and 6.4 percentage points higher. This represents $11,100 to $21,800 of weekly revenue lost. Currently, the Metro Transit Police conducts random ticket inspections and punish any violators with a warning or a fine. However, itâÄôs easy to board without buying a ticket. ItâÄôs easy to spot students boarding the light rail without paying for a ticket. We implore them to consider the long-term effects of this behavior. Public transportation exists to serve everyone, but its accessibility demands a small fee in return. We find it unlikely that the fare dodging will change as long as the âÄúhonor systemâÄù is in place. Therefore, we encourage Metro Transit to install turnstiles at its busier stations in order to force people to purchase a ticket before boarding the light rail. While this would cost money, a single investment would spare the slow loss of more than $1 million annually.