Metro launched a warning campaign Tuesday to let train and bus riders who don’t pay their fare know that they will be fined.
Digital warning signs will be displayed for two weeks throughout the system. After that, Metro Transit Police officers and other Metro personnel will hand out fliers to all fare evaders with the same warning information.
Citations will be handed out beginning in November. Fines of $50 to $100 will be levied on fare evaders.
“As I mentioned previously, the region needs to decide what we want Metro to be, and fare policy should be part of the conversation,” said General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Randy Clarke. “Many people have mentioned going to a fare-free model, but fare-free does not mean free. There are costs associated with running the community’s transit system and therefore the necessary revenues must exist to deliver the services the community needs.”
Fare recovery is one of the top concerns of customers, according to Metro staff and Metro Board Members.
Fare evasion is responsible for significant revenue losses and is part of the focus to close a shortfall of nearly $185 million in the upcoming budget, according to Metro officials. They estimated that Metro lost $40 million in fiscal year 2022 due to riders not paying their fares.
Metro also is exploring other methods to prevent customers from entering rail stations without paying. In November, Metro is expected to begin testing faregate modifications as a preventative measure. Some of the modifications being explored include tactile deterrents on top of faregates and higher barriers. Once the initial round of employee testing is completed, customers will be able to try the modified faregate and provide feedback early next year.
— Metro (@wmata) October 4, 2022