TriMet using plainclothes cops to enforce fares

A sign reminds TriMet MAX riders to pay the fare. April 10, 2013.
A sign reminds TriMet MAX riders to pay the fare. (April 10, 2013 | KOIN 6 News)

Plainclothes officers with the Transit Police Division have begun riding MAX trains to enforce fares.

The officers have the authority to request proof of fares from passengers, issue citations, exclude those caught riding the trains without paying fares, and even arrest those who have been previously excluded.

Some repeat violators have already been caught and arrested, TriMet says.

“The plainclothes fare missions are not about fare evasion and collecting fines, they’re about holding people accountable for their actions, and that leads to a safer, more civil transit system,” Transit Police Commander Mike Crebs says of the new missions.

Riders without valid fares face a $175 citation or exclusion from a fare enforcer. Repeat offenders risk being arrested for theft of services.

“TriMet is not the place to disobey the rules, act out or commit a crime,” says TriMet Safety and Security Executive Harry Saporta. “You never know who is watching.”

TriMet stepped up fare enforcement in recent years. They have become more important since the regional transit agency eliminated free MAX service downtown and in the Lloyd District to help balance the budget last year.

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