With University Link coming online in about two years, Sound Transit’s fare enforcement needs are about to increase considerably. Sound Transit has asked the legislature for a simple bill to save them (and you) money enforcing fares, and it could use our support.
Today, law enforcement has access to a system that allows them to issue citations on the spot. Sound Transit fare enforcement officers (FEOs) can’t do that.
Right now, when an FEO on Link finds someone who hasn’t paid, they first photograph the person’s ID. At the end of a shift, each FEO has to spend almost three hours doing the paperwork to send all the data they collected to a district court. Finally, the court processes them and attempts service on the people identified. This is a mess – it wastes hours every day, and the rate of returned service is very high.
Sound Transit wants to streamline this process. If FEOs have the tools to issue citations at the time of enforcement and avoid the court process, the agency thinks it won’t have to hire any more FEOs for University Link.
Sound Transit first requested permission from the state patrol to use the same system as law enforcement, but were told that fare enforcement would have to *be* law enforcement to use it.
Eventually, the district court requested a simple bill to save both governments money and create a standard citation for Sound Transit fare enforcement to issue in the field. The House bill (HB 2111) passed with bipartisan support, as it not only helps Sound Transit but also increases farebox recovery and generally makes government a little more efficient. Now the Senate companion, SB 5961, is stalled in Transportation, where an apparent failure of two district courts to communicate with each other led to incorrect testimony in opposition. Seriously.
This is a worthwhile way to save us all a little money. What we’re asking is that you call your Senator and say “please ask your friends on Senate Transportation to move SB 5961 ASAP.” Because this is embarrassing.