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.
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.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.