Management & Operations

Maryland Transit to enforce light rail fare payment

Posted on June 9, 2015

Onara Baka Sama
Onara Baka Sama

As one part of an overall focus to increase farebox recovery rates at the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), the MTA Police will be conducting fare compliance enforcement sweeps beginning June 9 on the light rail system in the Baltimore region. The start of these ongoing sweeps is designed to coincide with Baltimore Orioles home stands against the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

MTA Police, Fare Inspectors and Transit Ambassadors will be out in force on the Light Rail starting from the Hunt Valley Station when they will have a beefed up presence at the Camden Yard station.

During 2014, the MTA conducted approximately 1.9 million light rail fare inspections. And while the resulting light rail fare evasion rate is only about one-half of what it is on a national average (2.2% vs. 4% to 6%), this will be a concentrated effort to ensure light rail customers understand how to pay for fares, and are using fares in the correct manner as required by law. Last year MTA Police issued over 2,400 citations for fare evasion.

This fare compliance initiative is being focused on the light rail because it is an “open” system. This means that while required to pay for fares, customers can get on and off a light rail train without having to run their ticket or multi-fare passes through a scanner, as they would on MTA’s Metro Subway or local bus service.

“The perception of a high fare evasion rate on the light rail doesn’t match up with the reality that the rate is actually pretty low. Part of that is driven by the fact that 74% of our customers have already paid their fare and use multi-fare passes or flash passes. So, many customers who ride pay for single fares may notice other people getting on the train without going to a ticket machine first,” said MTA Administrator Paul W. Comfort. “And, while the MTA Police constantly analyze weekly ridership trends to meet fare evasion head-on, this initiative is as much about educating riders on how to use our system, than is it about the small percentage of people who try and ride for free.”

In addition to enforcement efforts, the MTA will have Transit Ambassadors on the system to help people who don’t normally ride the light rail understand how to pay for fares correctly.

The MTA asks customers to ensure that when riding Light Rail, the correct amount is paid for the ticket and that riders have proof of payment to exhibit upon request by MTA fare inspectors as required.

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