1 in 3 bus riders doesn’t pay required fare, Metro says

A report released by Metro shows one-third of bus riders don’t pay the required fare.

In its quarterly fare evasion update to the Metro Board, the agency said: “The Metrobus fare evasion rate has grown significantly over time.” Through the second quarter of fiscal year 2022, “Metrobus incidents totaled 9 million occurrences among 26 million trips, or 34% of trips.”

That’s far higher than the 14% recorded in 2019, and the 17% from 2020.

The agency said Metrorail fare evasion is estimated at 2% of ridership. Metrorail monitors its fare evasion through several means, including automatic and manual passenger counts, electronic gate sensors, and Metro Transit Police Department tracking of fail-to-pay offenses.

By contrast, Metrobus fare evasion relies on counts created by a “fare evasion” button on the farebox that the driver presses, along with automated passenger counter data.

Metro said the percentage of fare evaders continues to rise, and the number of passengers continues to decrease due to COVID-19.

The Metro report estimates the agency has lost $8.6 million in revenue so far in fiscal 2022 due to bus fare evasion.

To deal with the issue of fare evasion, the report said, Metro is working to understand the scope of the problem, and institute a more accurate count of fare evasions.

In addition, WMATA is developing a low-income fare pilot program, and working to improve enforcement, which is hampered by the differences in laws and enforcement policies across D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow WTOP on Twitter and Instagram to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2022 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up