Hit with a TriMet fine? Now you can work it off

trimet ticket
FILE - A TriMet transit ticket, as issued at automated pay stations at high-traffic stops in Multnomah County.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It was just this past Friday that TriMet issued a warning saying fare inspectors would be out over the weekend checking tickets on trains to the Rose Garden.

It turns out that people who get caught riding MAX without a $2.50 ticket can get a reduced fine — or no fine at all.

Ticketless rider options

It’s a deal that’s “not up to TriMet, it’s up to the court,” said TriMet Public Information Officer Roberta Altstadt.

By going to traffic court, riders can choose to serve eight hours of community service instead of paying the $175 fine. Usually that amounts to litter patrol, or other local clean-up tasks.

A spokesperson for the traffic court also said fines often are reduced by a judge — to just $60.

Meanwhile, mass transit riders in Portland soon can buy TriMet tickets on their smartphone. Rider accounts and tickets are stored on a secure server. In TriMet’s mobile app FAQ, users are instructed to “only activate your ticket when you are ready to board your bus or train.”

TriMet is starting a beta test of the option, with 150 people trying out the app. About 1,500 people applied to be part of the test. The app is expected to be available to everyone with a smart phone this summer.

Project Clean Slate

The option to swap eight hours of volunteer time for a city-related fine isn’t new in Multnomah County.

Project Clean Slate allows those with suspended licenses, no licenses or delinquent traffic fines to perform community service for all or part of the past delinquent fines. Participants are required to attend and participate in a Personal and Community Responsibility Classes of eight hours or more.

However, there’s still a fee under this program. A fee of $250 goes to the Oregon State Police for expungement of traffic records, and there may be an additional fingerprinting fee. The Personal and Community Responsibility Classes costs another $250, the program reports.

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