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TriMet cites safety, fare compliance improvements


Agency notes increased fare enforcement, elimination of Free Rail Zones

TriMet announced increases in transit security and citations issued to fare evaders on Tuesday.

The regional transit agency also said the elimination of the Free Rail Zones seem to have reduced the number of fare evaders and disruptive passengers on MAX trains.

Security increases include the addition of a new K-9 team that has been certified to join the TriMet Transit Police Division. The new team brings the force to 62 officers, including for full-time K-9 teams that can detect explosives.

In addition, six new fare enforcers start work this Sunday. They join two others hired earlier this year, bringing the fare enforcement team the full time equivalent of 26 positions.

TriMet also announced that by the end of this year, all of the agency’s buses will have security cameras. TriMet has also increased the number of MAX platforms with cameras and increased the number of cameras on some platforms.

According to TriMet, there are now 820 cameras on MAX platforms, and all platforms will have camera by the end of 2013. All MAX trains already have cameras.

As the result of an increase in fare enforcement efforts, citations issued to fare evaders have increased 84 percent since October 2011. Figures released by TriMet show 19,818 citations were issued between then and July 2012. That compares to just 3,243 citations issued between October 2010 and July 2011.

Exclusions have also increased from 6,449 to 8,531 over the same periods.

Riders without valid fares now face a $175 and possible exclusion from the system on the first offense.

And TriMet noted that ridership shifts have occurred since the Free Rail Zones downtown and in the Lloyd District were eliminated in September to help balance the agencies budget.

According to TriMet, transit police officers and fare enforcers report fewer problems with transients and an overall calmer climate on the MAX trains. They are also encouraged by the number of passengers with valid fares.