Light rail fares going up; do people pay anyway?

Light rail fares going up; do people pay anyway?

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by DAN YESENOSKY / NBC Charlotte

WCNC.com

Posted on June 27, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 27 at 8:05 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --  Starting on Tuesday July 1, CATS says they are raising the one-way fare for a ride on the Lynx Light Rail from $2 to $2.20, but without an officer at every station at all times, people could theoretically ride for free. It may not be worth the risk, because getting caught is a $50 fine.  
 
“I've tried it once or twice, but they caught me,” said Tyrone Kinard. “They gave me a warning and ever since I've never tried it anymore.” 
 
“If you want to take the risk, it's a pretty expensive ride for 50 bucks a trip,” Sandra Sampler said.
 
Still, some think there are circumstances to take the chance. 
 
“If you don't have the fare and you've got to get to, a destination like if you might be looking for a job, then it’s worth the risk,” said Jovonte Moss. 
 
For those looking to test the odds think about this: four CMPD officers are assigned to transit, CATS has 59 armed company police officers and if you do get a citation, you’ll have to take time out to go to court.   
 
“Eventually, they'll catch you,” Kinard said. 
 
Back in 2013, CATS did a study that showed a fare evasion rate of just 6.5 percent for the Lynx Light Rail, so most riders actually do pay for their tickets. They say the bill to have officers at each station and on each train for an entire 20-hour day of light rail operation would cost the company too much, and that most light rail systems in cities across the country feel the same.
 

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