With as many as 22 percent of riders failing to pay fares, transportation and sheriff's officials announced efforts today to ensure people pay to ride the Metro Orange Line bus through the San Fernando Valley.
The Sheriff's Department's Transit Services Bureau plans to beef up patrols at Orange Line stations to ensure all riders have a TAP card loaded with the required fare to ride the bus, which travels on a dedicated busway between North Hollywood, Chatsworth and Woodland Hills.
Metro is also planning to add new signs at all 18 Orange Line stations directing riders to use their TAP cards before boarding the bus.
"In recent enforcement audits, we found that a majority of our passengers tap their cards and pay the fare when they enter stations, but an alarming number of riders were not paying and a surprising number of people appear to be unclear about when and where to tap their fare cards," sheriff's Transit Services Bureau Cmdr. Michael Claus said. "Our new signs will direct passengers where to tap and we've added a new instructional video to Transit TV indicating that failure to tap may result in a citation and fine."
An audit conducted at three Orange Line station in December found that 22 percent of riders evaded the fare by failing to have a valid TAP card or enough cash on the card to cover the cost. About 9 percent of riders had valid TAP cards but failed to tap them at a fare box before boarding.
Another December audit found 16 percent of riders evading the fare, while an audit in February found 7 percent evaded the fare, according to Metro.
The Orange Line has about 30,000 boardings every weekday. The fare is $1.50, but Metro officials said that thanks to various reduced-fare programs, the average amount paid by riders is 70 cents.
"There is no excuse for breaking the law and trying to ride for free," Metro CEO Art Leahy said. "The Metro board has authorized many reduced fare programs for seniors, students, persons with disabilities and Medicare recipients."
--City News Service