People Are Really Pissed at Sound Transit



Don't want to be perceived as unfair to people trying to take shits and shoot up while the people who pay are trying to get to work.



Do you actually work? So far as I can see all you do is sit at your keyboard and obsess about poop. I mean, everybody has their own freak flag to fly, but why don't you just come clean and admit the only reason you're on the SLOG to indulge in your coprophilia fetish.


Sound Transit doesn't fair enforcement during peak commuter hours because there are to many people on the rail cars. They just don't pick out folks that look like they might be skipping the fair, they do a sweep. If you refuse to pay on a bus the driver may or may not call it in.


"Seattle Council Member Kshama Sawant got in on the action, too"

Yep: as always, her solution is "Tax the Rich." You can always count on Sawant to address local problems by proposing a taxation scheme that would be struck down as unconstitutional at the first legal challenge. Of course, when that proposal fails, she has no viable alternative plan, and the problem remains unsolved. See, e.g., homelessness, income inequality, transit, etc.


COMTE @2, what's with the ad hominem attack? Do you feel you're standing on such shaky ground? Also, I sense a bit of Trumpian projection on your part, considering that Brent Gumbo here shows up as "Member since 2018" with 55 comments, and as far as I can tell, you comment 55 times a day.

Anyway, I was just coming on here to say, I'm about as hard-core a public transit supporter as there is, I practice what I preach, and if anything I'm frustrated with Joe McDermott's frustration. Peter Rogoff and Sound Transit, keep doing what you're doing. I'm always amazed at what a bastion of civility the Link light rail trains are, and what a contrast that is with King County Metro's RapidRide buses.

Just a little reminder that some progressive agendas are fundamentally in tension with other progressive agendas, and I'm not afraid to choose sides on this one.


Metro’s punishment of a 30 day ban from Metro is a joke being that the only ones who can enforce the ban are transit police. Making the chance that someone gets caught if they ignore the ban minuscule at best.


Sawant presents an achievable, desirable objective and states the reasonable means for attaining the outcome. She is clear-eyed, steady and courageous. Others dither.


From what I gather, one or two twitter users are 'really pissed' at sound transit. Twitter is not real life, twitter doesn't represent the majority opinion. Is that the amount of research Rich did to come up with this article? One or two pearl clutching tweets and now the entire city is enraged. I always thought Rich would be better suited for Portland.


And once again, Seattle shows that its approach is neither groundbreaking nor competent, but instead rather typically American in that it refuses to apply models that work elsewhere in the world. You don't need to develop an entirely new form of social philosophy just run a transit system.

It's simple: Transit police (jobs!) sweep the trains periodically and randomly, including during peak hours. A team of 5 officers can make their way through a train in as much time as it takes. No need to check all the passengers, if the train is crowded. Those without proof of valid ticket (or subscription pass) must show identification. They are fined and compelled to buy a full-fare ticket from the officer. Fines are high as deterrent. Infraction tickets are registered in the municipal justice system, and mailed to the violator's home, just as with a speeding or parking ticket. Failure to pay results in increased fines and criminal warrant. Failure to show identification results in removal from the train criminal charges, and possible arrest. Those who can convincingly present themselves as ignorant of the fare system (tourists who don't speak the language) are compelled only to pay for a full-fare ticket, or are removed from the train.

Those with low incomes can apply for a state or municipal subsidy program that allows the purchase of lower-fare ticket subscriptions. Single ride fares for infrequent riders (tourists and visitors) remain higher than subscription fares partially to fund these subsidies.

It's not rocket science, but, like the agonizing health insurance troubles, America just insists on re-invent the wheel. And they tend to make crappy wheels nowadays.

To address the circular logic in the statement "People of color and people with low-incomes are negatively impacted by a fare enforcement system that prioritizes a criminal justice approach over customer service,"; yes, it's a criminal matter to cheat the publicly-funded transit system. (If your local criminal justice system is overwhelmed with other activity, that just speaks of deeper-rooted social dysfunction. Perhaps Sawant's "tax the rich" ambitions will help address these problems.)

The honor systems that used to be common in places like the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland made boarding and exiting the trains very efficient. But these only work when the system is solvent, and that only happens when the public actually acts honorably and pays their fare. And they still rely on random enforcement sweeps. These systems have mostly been retired as transit systems have been privatized, though the sweeps still remain. Race has nothing to do with it, except for the fact that those of lower income who are willing to risk riding without a ticket (either out of financial desperation, out of spite or in retaliation for perceived discrimination, or simply as a mark of a cynical world-view or culture) tend to be non-white. Neither the transit system nor the enforcement agents are allowed to apply racism or profiling when sweeping for a fare-dodger. Your mileage may vary in the USA.

I wish Seattle the best of luck developing a "customer service"-based philosophy of fare enforcement.


@2: Your trigger-happy projections and insults make you look like a fool.


The only places they check my pass is when I'm at the Husky Station end or around Othello. It's doing what the ST board intended, keeping the poors from using it.

If it starts bothering middle class riders, they will push back and say NO loudly.


GasparFagel @9, excellent, clear-eyed comment. It's comments like this that give me hope that the Slog comments threads still have some redeeming value.


Put in turnstiles. But nobody really gives a fuck about fare enforcement anyways. That's the issue. Might as well make it all fucking free right? No laws, no rules. Just go ahead and piss all over the Light Rail train. If we give you a ticket it for pissing, we're racist anti-homeless assholes



I get my fare checked by Swiss and German authorities every time I ride over there.


So we should make buses homeless shelters/thunder domes. Cool.
This will be fun to watch as ridership declines because people who actually work won't want to ride the bus and then The Stranger will lament that more people are driving cars and fewer are using public transit. A leftist ouroborus.


If we eliminate fare enforcement, the most adversely affected will be women. They are the most likely to be harassed by drug addicts and crazy people wandering the streets.


SoundTransit sounds like the inside of Microsoft. Cross-functional workgroup? All that's missing is "deliverables". The years of wheel-spinning CYA is in place, though.


I am as white as they come; petite female. I have been asked by Fare Enforcement to flash my Orca card a maximum of 3x per week while riding Sounder. Three Times In One Week. I have also made eye contact with a Fare Enforcement Officer as I tapped my Orca card only to have the same Officer ask me to flash my card.

Given these facts, it is imperative that young people get used to dealing with Fare Enforcement. If one interaction give them near PTSD how on earth will they be able to handle three times in a week, as I have? How?


If by “people” you mean Joe McDermott and Kshama Sawant who gives a flying fuck.


I ride the light rail every day and have to show my Orca card maybe a couple times a week. I don't see a problem with it.


That first day of school fare enforcement thing was blown way out of proportion from the start. On the first day of school, ST said they were not issuing any citations or warnings, and that fare enforcement officers were instead issuing informal, off-the-record warnings and informing the transit newbies (students) of how the fare system normally works. Seems like a wise thing to do.


Fuck everyone involved in this non-issue.


You REALLY need to get out of your downtown bubble Mr. Smith, the tunnel vision on this one evidenced by the headline is astounding. Yes, "people" are pissed at Sound Transit but all of the people I know are pissed because ST is taking significant amounts of their income to bankroll a $50B make-work program for a bunch of middle managers, lobbyists and PR and marketing shitheads doing the Lord's Work. Herroner ex-Mayor Strickland who was on the ST board for the passage of ST3 made her cushy landing on the Seattle Chamber of Commerce last year, I'm sure the rest of the ST board is doing just fine for themselves as well. Fuck everyone involved from Rogoff down to the fare enforcement officers you're sanctimoniously talking down to here; may you all spend the rest of your commutes sitting in a train car smelling of urine.


So I went back and re-read the article after commenting and have to reiterate my point because this detail is too sweet to skip. HOW MUCH of the $54B (almost $2500 of which has come from me personally so far) that is supposed to be spent laying train tracks and building train stations is going towards this:

"In an email, a spokesperson for Sound Transit said the agency's "cross-functional workgroup" is still in its outreach phase, which involves designing and delivering a "multi-layered survey" to "riders, riders who can’t show proof of payment, as well as stakeholders and taxpayers throughout the region." The process will also include "meetings on this topic with communities of color and people experiencing poverty." They expect this phase to wrap up within "the next two months," and then be ready to update the board "before the end of the year."'

Can't make this stuff up.



only in seattle would simple fare enforcement be met with such shrieks of OUTRAGE!!!!! RARRR


Why did I read the comments? Inevitably there will always be right wing trolls stinking up the place.

Fare enforcement really is kind of obnoxious, they're usually pleasent and reasonable. But it's never nice to have a squad of people in uniform surrounding you demanding you prove you have a right to be there, even if they do it politely.

And we don't need it, light rail does not depend on fare revenues. All we need are some service folks to ride the trains, answer questions and help people, not threaten them.


Fair evasion doesn't matter. Most systems spend more combatting fare evasion than they would recoup from ticket fares. It's literally cheaper to not bother.


I ride the Link heavily, the majority of people I see taken off trains are poor POC. From Asian grandma who barely understands English, to disgruntled black man who had somewhere urgent to be (the sheriffs showed up real quick...) it's amazing how the deck is stacked against the vulnerable. That being said, free transit would be an incredible boon, but with fares covering a little over a quarter of the budget that's substantial amount that would have to be covered somehow


I've always been treated fairly and considerately by Sound Transit Fare Enforcement, and those folks do a necessary job. Comments about how to improve the present system should always be welcome, even if they are sharply critical. But making clear to riders that they are expected to pay the fare is not draconian, and I think most riders are fine with it. I partake of a good service? Well, then, yes, I--and most riders--should be expected to pay the fare to keep it operating. Should there be exceptions at certain times, such as students, the homeless, and indigent? Yes--but that doesn't mean Sound Transit fare enforcement is inherently wrong. Let's have the discussion about who those exceptions are without demonizing those who want to make sure riders pay the fare.



so you are both that dumb or have just turned 15?


@28 & 29

If you stop enforcement, the cost of freeloading riders will go up. Fare enforcement serves other purposes as well. It keeps people from loitering on trains. It prevents the normalization or dishonest riders who skip fare.


Sound Transit should have built "fare enforcement" into the system by requiring a pass (ORCA/one-time ticket, etc.) to get to/from the platform. This is commonly done in other well-functioning mass transit systems (e.g. NY, BART, London, Paris). While the initial cost of implementation is higher, this method has the additional advantage of eliminating the need for any fare enforcement, which is a cost that will not go away and which increases as wages increase.


@34 NYC is the midst of an EPIC showdown over fare enforcement (because no one can stomach increasing the capital budget to fix the structural problems) right now. Gated entries do not solve the fare enforcement issues.


@35- gated entries at least require fare dodgers to put out some effort (i.e., jumping turnstiles). sort of keeps honest people honest. I don't see how we can run the system without some kind of enforcement. Remember the downtown free ride zone? For all of their issues, at least the buses are far less urine-scented now.


Simple problem for the homeless fare dodgers: Move them into affordable housing in Discovery Park. Where they can't access Sound Transit routes.