The Metropolitan Transit Authority has joined forces with the LA County Sheriff’s Department to crack down on Metro Orange Line fare evaders.
New signs will be posted at all 18 Orange Line stations, which will direct riders to tap their TAP cards to deduct the appropriate fare. The Orange Line is an 18-mile busway in the San Fernando Valley that runs between the North Hollywood Red Line subway station, Chatsworth, and Woodland Hills and operates like a light rail line, as there are no fare boxes on board.
Commuters are supposed to buy a TAP card and load it with enough money to pay their fare. The single-ride fare is $1.50, but some people, such as seniors, people with disabilities, and students, are eligible for a reduced fare.
In one recent audit in December, Metro found that 22 percent of riders evaded the fare by not having a valid TAP card or enough cash balance on the TAP card to ride the bus.
The audit echoes a discovery made by NBC4’s I-Team in June – that thousands were riding the Metro subway system for free, and taxpayers were footing the bill, since it’s a subsidized service.
"There is no excuse for breaking the law and trying to ride for free," said Metro CEO Art Leahy. "Metro fares are among the lowest in the United States. Our riders pay only 26 percent of the cost of operating our expanding service leading to a projected budget gap that, if left unaddressed, threatens the quality of service we provide."
Sheriff’s patrols will also be added on the Orange Line.
"A surprising number of people appear to be unclear about when and where to tap their fare cards," said LASD Commander Michael Claus of the Transit Services Bureau. "Our new signs will direct passengers where to tap and we've added a new instructional video to Transit TV indicating that failure to tap may result in a citation and fine."
There are approximately 30,000 weekly boardings on the Orange Line, according to Metro.
For more information on Metro reduced fares, you can visit the Metro website.