Metro ramps up fare enforcement with warnings, fines

AP: a53ce7f8-7a4d-4050-9015-7f5df0be747b
Metro is cracking down on fare-jumpers. (AP)

WASHINGTON – Metro is cracking down on fare-jumpers after increased violence toward its employees.

Additional Metro Transit Police officers will be placed at popular rail stations and bus routes as the agency ramps up fare enforcement. From April 27 to May 8, officers will write warning citations to fare evaders. Then, for the next 90 days they will issue fines up to $100. The penalty varies depending on where the offense occurs: $50 in Alexandria, $10-$50 in Arlington, $100 in Fairfax, $50 in the District, $10-$50 in Prince George’s County and $50 in Montgomery County.

“Whether you jump the turnstile, you piggyback behind someone, or you just simply walk through the emergency gate, the officer has the discretion to either write a warning or a criminal citation,” says Metro Transit Police Chief Ronald Pavlik.

The number of assaults toward Metro employees jumped 37 percent between 2013 and 2014. They’ve been spat at, punched and even stabbed by riders.

“When you drill down and look at the root cause of these assaults, a good portion of them start from a fare evasion issue,” Pavlik says.

Just last week, an 18-year veteran Metro employee was stabbed by a woman who demanded a free ride. She attacked the Stadium-Armory station manager with a kitchen knife before fleeing. Metro Transit Police are still looking for the suspect.

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