I agree with the Dec. 2 editorial “Just how egregious is Metro fare evasion?,” which supported the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s concerns about the decriminalization of fare evasion. I moved to the District near the end of the use of paper bus ticketing. Before my move, I had lived in New York for most of my life and had always used New York’s mass transit system. The difference between residents’ attitudes toward payment of fares in the two cities was striking to me. Under the paper system, tickets were only randomly scrutinized; this cavalier attitude toward payment continues today. In contrast, people in New York expect to pay their fare or leave the bus.
I ride the Metrobus system almost every day, and on almost every ride I see people get on without paying, and they do it with the permission of the bus driver. In the 14 years of my residence here, I have never seen anyone asked to leave a bus for nonpayment; no one has been arrested. When there is a long line, people are just shuffled onto the bus. I wonder why I consistently pay when other people’s nonpayment is deemed an acceptable practice.
Decriminalizing this behavior only serves to further greenlight citizen lawbreaking and deprive mass transit of sorely needed funds.
Ruth Cecire, Washington