A $3 fare or a $250 ticket?
That dilemma is becoming more of a reality for evasive Calgary Transit commuters as the organization’s security branch is ramping up enforcement on those who don’t pay and coming forward with stiffer penalties for those caught.
“Compliance from riders is our goal, and we have done a number of things over the past couple of months to achieve that goal,” said Calgary Transit safety co-ordinator Brian Whitelaw.
CT launched a team of seven in mid-April who works during peak-travel hours five days a week to ensure commuters are paying to ride the LRT and buses.
Whitelaw said nearly double as many fare evaders have been caught since the team’s inception — if they maintain their pace the number of overall tickets issued will rise to 27,000, up from 15,000 in 2011.
As well, a report is being finalized for city council that recommends boosting the fine for fare evasion to between $200-250, up from the $100 charge that has been in place since 2006.
Ald. Gord Lowe said it’s important that all users pay for a system already operating under tight constraints.
“Transit seems to be taking the issue of fare evasion seriously,” he added.
Calgary Transit estimates about 4.5 per cent of riders don’t pay.