Metro cracks down on fare evasion starting Monday under sweeping DC crime law

Skipping out on paying the fare to ride Metro could result in a citation or even an arrest starting Monday, under new penalties cited in sweeping D.C. crime legislation that passed last week.

The package, called Secure D.C., was signed into law by Mayor Muriel Bowser a week ago, after being unanimously approved by the D.C. Council.

The emergency legislation toughens enforcement for fare evaders and also increases the penalty for assaulting bus and rail operators or Metro employees, according to a news release from Metro.

Under the new law, if you’re stopped for fare evasion and refuse to give your real name and address, Metro said you could be arrested and face a fine of up to $100 for refusing to comply.

That approach lines up with Virginia and Maryland — where you could already be fined up to $100 for fare evasion, which is a criminal violation.

Fare evaders can receive a civil fine of $50 in D.C.

Before the D.C. legislation passed, Metro Transit Police Department officers couldn’t penalize evaders who refused to give a real name.

“Instead, officers could only ask an individual to leave the station or go back and pay their fare, severely limiting enforcement efforts,” Metro said.

There are signs near the pay stations warning passengers about the changes, a spokesperson for the transit agency told WTOP. That signage also tells passengers about how to pay for a ride and, for those who might be struggling to afford to ride, it offers information about reduced fare programs (ex: Metro Life for SNAP recipients, seniors and students).

Fare evasion has been an ongoing problem for Metro, which continues to deal with budget shortfalls. The transit agency began rolling out new fare gates in July that are designed to stop riders who jump over and pull up gate bars. The new “saloon door” styled gates are higher and stronger than the previous ones.

About a month after the gates were installed, Metro said fare evasion had plummeted.

Metro said Monday it’s still working to modify fare gates at all 98 stations to deter riders from skipping out on paying.

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

© 2024 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Jessica Kronzer

Jessica Kronzer graduated from James Madison University in May 2021 after studying media and politics. She enjoys covering politics, advocacy and compelling human-interest stories.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up