Fair Fares

Transit Justice for all Minnesotans

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.

Vote down HF1306/SF1513

Reach out to your representative to ask them to oppose HF1306, and your senator to oppose SF1513.

You can look up who represents you here. 

 

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.

 

The Senate Version, SF1513 is particularly harmful and would do the following:

  • Creates an administrative citation but does not remove the misdemeanor, perplexingly creating 2 systems of enforcement for fare nonpayment. Studies show that in other states where this is present, it disproportionately impacts riders of color: https://www.governing.com/archive/gov-fare-evaders-turnstile-jumpers-penalties.html
  • Forces each county to pay for fare enforcement, which will lead to a drop in counties funding new transit projects and disincentives counties increasing ridership, which is critical to meeting our state’s climate and equity goals
  • Despite our political moment in which we are questioning the role of the police, this bill forces transit agencies not to reduce the amount of police on the light rail than the past 3 years average. This means that despite adding transit agents to our transit system to enforce citations for fare nonpayment, there will be no fewer police officers on the light rail, leading to serious questions of safety for riders of color who are disproportionately targeted by police generally and within the fare enforcement system.