TriMet Board approves revision to TriMet Code to clarify proof of payment required to ride

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Approved ordinance aims to eliminate confusion about fare inspections while further stating fare evasion not criminal if only offense

TriMet Board of Directors has unanimously approved a revision to the TriMet Code. It confirms fares are required to ride TriMet, aims to eliminate confusion about fare enforcement and further ensures fare evasion as an only offense is not criminal.  The Board approved Ordinance 351 on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, which will change TriMet Code effective Dec. 13, 2018.

Fare is fair

The approved revision to the TriMet Code clarifies TriMet’s current authority to, “…fix and collect charges for the use of the transit system and other district facilities” as stated in Oregon Revised Statute 267. The statute also gives the agency the authority to set ordinances or rules relating to the protection and use of the system.

The revision to TriMet Code adds further detail about those authorities to clarify that fares are required on all TriMet buses and trains, and on rail platforms, and that those who ride our transit system have a responsibility to show a valid fare when requested.

Conflicting court decisions created confusion about fare inspections. The recent opinion in State v. Valderrama said a fare inspection violated the Oregon Constitution, while another judge said a similar inspection (State v. Denise) was lawful and that a rider has an obligation to pay and show fare when asked.

Learn more about our fare requirement at trimet.org/fareisfair.

Fare evasion is not a crime

The revision to the TriMet Code also states that if fare evasion is a person’s only offense, it is a violation and not a crime for which the person could be arrested. This furthers TriMet’s efforts to make fare evasion non-criminal. In July 2018, TriMet began resolving adult fare evasion citations directly within the first 90 days before they automatically go into the court system. We also changed the penalties when fare evasion was the sole offense to a tiered fine or community service. We also began voiding the citation if the person successfully enrolled in TriMet’s Honored Citizen reduced fare program. Our Honored Citizen program allows those living on a low income, seniors, Medicare beneficiaries and those with disabilities to qualify for greatly discounted fare.

Fare enforcement is equitable

TriMet conducts fare enforcement in a manner that is lawful and equitable. Two in-depth, independent analyses over the past four years – one earlier this year and one in 2016 – determined there was no evidence of systemic racial bias in our enforcement efforts and fare inspections.

Serving our community

TriMet provides transit service across a 533-square-mile section of Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties, getting people to and from jobs, schools, services and activities. Fares are an important source of funding for our operations, so we can provide the extensive network of transit service we do to the community. Learn more about the TriMet Code and our rules for riding.