The free ride may be coming to an end for light-rail freeloaders in Tempe -- the Tempe Police Department is planning "focused fare enforcement stops" at light-rail stops to catch people who don't pay.
Tempe police say they are putting an end to the "education period" for light-rail cheats and stepping up enforcement.
The new policy calls for officers to check people as they come off the trains to make sure they've bought a ticket.
It's a sad day when it takes a police to do a job that a fence and some turnstiles have done successfully in cities across the country. That is, we still don't understand why light-rail stations are designed as they are; their design encourages cheating.
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A ticket to ride the light rail costs $3.50 for the entire day, while a citation and court fees for not paying the fare can be anywhere from $70 to $500, so it's probably a good idea to just buy yourself a ticket.
Tempe police don't exactly plan on surprising anyone at first, though. They sent out a press release with the exact time and location of the first enforcement sweep.
If you're riding the light rail through Tempe today at about 10:30 a.m. and happen to get off at the Price and Apache light-rail station, do yourself a favor and buy a ticket first.