This legislative session the State House and Senate have introduced bills addressing fare evasion on Metro Transit. Instead of decriminalizing fare evasion, as MN350 and our allies have been calling for, these bills would actually increase the Metropolitan Police Department’s funding and presence on our buses and light rail. The bills mandate the transit authority to introduce “transit agents”, un-uniformed individuals who can write administrative citations. This is in addition to the police who are already present and able to issue a gross misdemeanor to riders skipping their $2 fare. It is well documented that Black and Indigenous riders are unequally targeted by fare enforcers on Metro Transit.
A gross misdemeanor goes on your permanent record, and without removing the misdemeanor language from these bills, the introduction of “transit agents” who only issue administrative citations is just bringing more enforcers on board our public transportation.
I am asking that you call your legislators and request that they vote down these bills (HF1306/SF1513) – merely increasing police department capacity is not an effective strategy for creating safe and climate-friendly mass transit.