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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Caltrain slashes fare evasion fines, improves fare-checking process

The new policy will decrease fines from $250 to a $75 administrative fee.
Photo – Caltrain

Caltrain's board late last week adopted a new policy that reduces fines for riding without paying fares.

Under the new ordinance, fines will be decreased from $250 to a $75 administrative penalty. The policy also establishes a "standardized electronic issuance procedure" for conductors, Caltrain officials said in a press release.

The new procedure will enable transit police and conductors to scan a photo ID of a fare evader, who then will receive a notice in the mail, the San Mateo Daily Journal reported. The new process is expected to be speedier than the old one, which can take up to 15 minutes for a conductor to write a ticket, according to the newspaper.

Caltrain uses a proof-of-payment/honor-based system, and conductors are responsible for daily fare inspections. The current fare enforcement process is "time intensive," which hinders more checks, Caltrain officials said.

"Oftentimes when fare evaders are ticketed, people respond aggressively toward conductors, and fine collections are rare," they said in the press release, adding that the new fare process "will reduce man-hours, free up conductors to check more tickets, and has the potential to generate more revenue."

Caltrain expects to roll out the improved proof-of-payment system in April.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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