As we already know, fare evasion continues to be a growing problem within both Toronto and the rest of Ontario. With multiple commuters skipping out on paying their Metrolinx fares, the company loses up to $15 million each year through fare evasion alone. Now, they have confirmed that they are cracking down on GO Train fare evasions and first-time offenders are now being fined $100.
In a press release, Metrolinx outlined the changes that are being put in place to help cut down on fare evasion throughout the province. While they aren't releasing full details on their plan until next week, a lot of the changes that are being put in place have already been outlined and some are already being implemented.
One of the main changes that Metrolinx implemented on April 1, 2019, is that there will now be a 'zero-tolerance strategy' for those who don't pay their fare. Passengers who didn't pay or refuse to show their valid ticket when asked by an officer will now be issued a 'Notice of Violation' which results in a $100 fine. Before this program was put in place, first-time offenders would often receive a warning about not paying the proper fair on a Metrolinx line.
On top of this, Metrolinx states that their Transit Saftey Officers previously conducted fare inspections, but their roles have since been shifted more to security sweeps and platform safety, which leaves fewer officers conducting fare checks.
To help deal with this, Metrolinx has hired twelve full-time Revenue Protection Officers who will start conducting fare evasion checks starting June 1. Metrolinx states that while a majority of these checks will be on the busier lines, such as the Lakeshore West Line, they will also ensure that they check the smaller lines at least once a month.
Of course, this fare evasion issue is something that is a long-running problem throughout both the GO lines as well as the TTC.
A few months ago, Narcity reported on a group of teens who committed a mass TTC fare evasion and simply got away with the crime. In a video that was posted to Reddit, one teen is seen tapping his Presto card on the TTC, opening the gates and holding it open, as a dozen of his friends walked through without paying.
Narcity also reported on a case where the Toronto Auditor General confirmed multiple fare evasions are constantly occurring on the TCC. The main methods that were used by these fare evaders were either jumping over gates and using backpacks or even dogs as a way to gain access to the TTC without paying.
Earlier this year, there was also an issue with adults using child Presto cards, meant for children 12 and under, to skip the fee on Metrolinx lines, since kids can ride free.
Metrolinx's goal with these changes is to limit the number of fare evaders that gain access to their lines each year.