Amtrak should make fare evaders pay

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Status
Not open for further replies.

TheCrescent

OBS Chief
Joined
Jun 24, 2020
Messages
528
Feel free to call the police every time you suspect someone is fare evading. However, make sure to also do so for every other transportation crime that's committed. Someone going 1mph over the speed limit? Call the police! Rolling through a stop sign? Call the police! Expired registration? Call the police! As for victimless crimes, the first two especially are not victimless crimes - tens of thousands of people die on the roads annually in the US, and some of those are through inattentive driving or speeding.

I'm going to guess that within a couple of days of diligently reporting every crime you see you'll get, at minimum, a very stern warning by the 911 dispatchers to stop calling them for such things.



And if the passenger refuses to pay the fare? It's going to be impossible to know how long the train is delayed if the passenger is non-cooperative, if a more important emergency comes up for the police en route, etc.
If your first argument is that many traffic violations are not victimless crimes, then the solution should be more, not less law enforcement, consistent with holding fare evaders accountable.

For your second argument: my position is that Amtrak should have a fare evasion policy that minimizes costs on Amtrak. Some discretion would of course need to be left to Amtrak staff at the time someone is caught. For example, if someone just jumps onto a full, late Acela and is immediately caught, the penalty and process wouldn’t be as severe as someone who’s caught stealing a ride worth $750 on an empty train.

What I dislike is letting fare evaders ride and then be done with their trips, with no consequences. If someone is a regular commuter between Philadelphia and Metropark, NYC and Newark or Newark and Metropark, why not ride the Acela for free, without consequences, when the alternative is NJ Transit.
 
Last edited:

Devil's Advocate

⠀⠀⠀
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
13,576
Location
⠀⠀⠀TX
For your second argument: my position is that Amtrak should have a fare evasion policy that minimizes costs on Amtrak.
Who says they don't? Seems like they've minimized cost as much as possible.

Knowing how even minor nonviolent offenses can escalate into serious injury or death there is little chance I'm calling the police over a random fare jumper.
 

TheCrescent

OBS Chief
Joined
Jun 24, 2020
Messages
528
Who says they don't? Seems like they've minimized cost as much as possible.

Knowing how even minor nonviolent offenses can escalate into serious injury or death there is little chance I'm calling the police over a random fare jumper.
Clearly I’m in the minority here, and I appreciate that everyone else has made some good points about why Amtrak did as it did.

I’ll conclude by saying that lawlessness will harm all of us. It leads to lower revenues for Amtrak, fewer empty seats and a less pleasant atmosphere onboard and in stations. Theft is a big issue; it’s not singled out by the 7th/8th Commandment for nothing.
 

Devil's Advocate

⠀⠀⠀
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
13,576
Location
⠀⠀⠀TX
I’ll conclude by saying that lawlessness will harm all of us. It leads to lower revenues for Amtrak, fewer empty seats and a less pleasant atmosphere onboard and in stations. Theft is a big issue; it’s not singled out by the 7th/8th Commandment for nothing.
I agree that we live in an era of increasing lawlessness but when I think about the crimes that are harming all of us it's not the fare jumpers I'm worried about.
 

pennyk

Amtrak Rider
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
14,690
Location
Orlando, FL
This thread has become a bit argumentative and it appears that everything that members wanted to say has been said. We are locking the thread either temporarily or permanently. If you have a relevant comment that has not yet been expressed, please PM @pennyk and/or @jis .

Thank you for your understanding and support.
 

Acela150

Super Buff
Joined
Jan 11, 2008
Messages
9,132
Location
Somewhere between here and there
Ok folks. I want to first off thank Penny and Jishnu for allowing me to make my comments regarding this topic since I do work for Amtrak as an Assistant Conductor on the NEC.

Fare evaders and Amtrak is always going to be an issue. Which is sad to say. But please allow me to clarify some of the misconceptions that have been mentioned.

First is the term “Train Staff”. Fare Collection/Enforcement falls into the hands of Conductor’s and Assistant Conductors. They are the only employees who are allowed to collect transportation revenue. On Board Services are non-revenue collecting employees. LSA’s are in charge of collecting Food & Beverage revenue.

Next is the term “Ticket Collector”. Again, these are Conductor’s and Assistant Conductor’s. “Ticket Collectors” could possibly be some who does exactly that, collects old and used tickets/ticket stubs as a hobby.

Proper procedure is dictated by the Service Standards Manual. It’s simple, ask them to step off the train, if they refuse to do so, APD is notified who will dispatch the appropriate authorities to a designated station to meet the train.

It seems that the Conductor or Assistant Conductor did such in Philadelphia. As for the Newark situation, I’m not sure which train you were on. However the trains that terminate in NYP are Discharge only at NWK, with few exceptions.

The biggest issue especially at stations such as TRE, PJC, NBK, MET, EWR, NWK, and NYP is that Transit also serves those stations. The majority of those passengers just get on and don’t realize that it’s not a Transit train. Which is why a lot of Conductor’s will make the announcement that says “If you have a little pink ticket, this is NOT you train. Some people do know and try to sell that they didn’t know. But you can pick those out very quickly.

Why not prosecute these fare evaders? If caught and put off into the hands of APD they are assessed a fine. APD does keep records of “Serial Fare Evaders” and notices are posted.

Yesterday I had someone who got on the train at NWK who was playing games right off the bat. He showed me a picture on his phone of a ticket that I couldn’t scan. I asked him his last name to look up his PNR. Nothing popped up. I asked to see his phone in an attempt to try to scan said barcode. I noticed that the ticket in question was from 2018! I then and there told him “This ticket is from 2018 man, you’re getting off in Trenton. I’m not playing these games”. We were close to Trenton and I asked him if he was able to figure it out, he said “I’m just trying to get to Philly man..” I replied, “So are about 100 other people, they paid though”. He comes to the door and says “I got a ticket man”. He handed me a seat check. I told him, “No man, you’re done, get off.”

As for it being a “Victimless Crime in the Quiet Car”. It’s the quiet car, not a silent car. People are going to make noise, especially at station stops.

I hope that this helps provide some insight. If anyone has any questions about this topic, please feel free to drop me a PM. I am more then willing to talk to you about it.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top