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TriMet backs bill to exempt personal information from Oregon's open records law

Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) officials are supporting proposed state legislation that would exempt riders' personally identifiable information from Oregon's open records law.

TriMet's support of the legislation comes as the agency moves toward implementing a new electronic fare collection system that will include mobile ticketing services. The fare system will collect personally identifiable information about riders, such as their travel patterns or private financial and account information.

Under Oregon's existing Public Records Law, TriMet would have to release personal information about riders upon request, agency officials said in a press release. House Bill 4086 would exempt such information from being released under the law.

"Our concern is that in cases of domestic violence, for example, TriMet would be required to release information related to someone’s travel patterns and we would not be able to protect riders," said state Rep. Carolyn Tomei (D-Milwaukie), who is sponsoring the legislation. "This may be an extreme example, but it is within the realm of possibility, and this small change in the law will protect the public."

Florida, Georgia, Utah and Washington have passed exemptions for electronic fare collection in public record laws.

TriMet's e-fare system will begin testing in late 2015, with full implementation slated for 2017.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/14/2014