Caltrain said it began testing its new fare enforcement policy today.
The policy, adopted in January, takes fare evasion citations out of the courts and will instead handle them administratively. Fare evaders now receive administrative citations instead of criminal citations that require a court visit, thus “reducing fines and speeding up the process,” the transit agency said.
“Citations will only be warnings until July 25, at which point fare evaders will be fined,” the transit agency said in a statement.
Since 2003, fare compliance on Caltrain has been monitored by a conductor who writes citations for passengers who fail to show proof of payment. The cases end up in one of three congested superior courts – one for every county that Caltrain travels through. Caltrain said the ticket-writing process has been prone to error and, being a long and laborious process, creates tension between conductors and unruly passengers, often leading to police calls.
New legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown – SB 614 – empowered Caltrain to take their fare evasion citations out of the court system and to handle them administratively.
The new ordinance reduces $250 plus court administrative fees to a $75 administrative penalty.
“The new administrative notice of violation will adopt procedures to identify, deter, and penalize fare evasion in a timely, efficient and fair manner, according to Caltrain. “This will minimize the expense and delay where existing remedies available, through the criminal court system, are costly and time-consuming for all parties involved.”