TRAX Cracking Down on Fare-Free Riders

TRAX Cracking Down on Fare-Free Riders

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Ed Yeates ReportingNo more free rides. UTA is cracking down on people who ride TRAX without paying the fare. If you've been riding TRAX trains without paying, consider a new year's resolution to mend your ways.

It's not worth the risk, and if you're a habitual offender, you could be banned from riding altogether.

The price of a Trax train ticket or pass is still a bargain compared to other transit systems around the country, but it's not a bargain if you get a ticket for not paying. A citation for NOT paying is 94 dollars. After that, it doubles and stays that way - 188 dollars for every subsequent offense. Then, if you refuse to pay the citations, continually riding the train for free, be prepared to say bye bye.

Justin Jones, Utah Transit Authority: "And if they're frequent, chronic fare evaders, then we call local law enforcement and actually charge them with trespassing."

So far only two people, the most recent last week, have been labeled "Trespassed for Life," meaning they can never ride the train again.

Ross Larsen, UTA Public Safety Manager: "They have brought enough discord and enough problems that we have actually worked with our legal department to say, ‘You're too much of a disruptive influence that we can't have you on the train any longer.’"

These by far are worst case offenders. Both allegedly posed a criminal threat for transit police or passengers on board. But for the most part, TRAX riders pay their fair share, complying with an honor system that's worked well for the past six years.

Transit police bend over backwards on board to give people a break, like one woman who didn't have a ticket.

Sgt John Lyle, UTA Transit Police: “Yeah, she’s a violator. However, she’s new in town, not sure how the system works.”

Justin Jones: “There are about 1.3 million people who boarded TRAX last month and only 1.5-percent didn’t pay their fare.”

And compared with other transit systems, that's an enviable track record.

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