A few citations have already been handed out to freeloaders trying to ride the light rail without paying the fare, says Valley Metro spokesman Hillary Foose. She expects to provide the number to media outlets next week.
"The number of people who have been fare-evading has been extremely minimal, and so have the number of citations," Foose tells New Times.
As previously reported in this blog, getting busted on a light rail train without a ticket can cost you $50 or more (though you'd be hard-pressed to merit the $500 fine reported as the penalty by some scare-mongerers in the news media).
We had had never seen anyone checking fare passes on several light-rail rides, and we pondered openly with other passengers about whether such checking ever really occurred.
Then, during a ride yesterday, the large, uniformed man in our fuzzy phone photo asked for tickets from us and everyone else on board the train at the time. He gave a lecture to a young man who didn't have a fare pass, but didn't write a citation.
Fare-checking services are provided by Phoenix police assistants, (unsworn officers) in Phoenix, and by uniformed Wackenhut security officers in Tempe and Mesa. The officers are given the discretion to cite or not cite, depending on how egregious or frequent the offense, Foose says.
They'll probably see more violators once the fare doubles.