The Washington State Capitol
The Washington State Capitol by aidaneus

Update: ESHB 2111 has been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Transportation Monday, February 24, 2014, at 3:30 p.m.

Ben previously reported on House Bill 2111, which would allow fare inspectors to hand citations directly to fare evaders at the time they are caught. This bill passed out of the House unanimously (with one representative excused) last Thursday, after being amended.

Once inspectors are able to print out citations on the spot, they will be able to spend an extra 1.7 hours each day checking fares instead of sitting behind a desk entering data for the court system to then mail out the citations.

Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2111 (which ESHB 2111 is now officially called since it was amended on the Floor of the House), appears to have answered the concerns of the court administrators about the details of the bill, and will move on to the Senate next.

21 Replies to “ESHB 2111 Moves to State Senate”

  1. The amendment, I noted, changes “regional transit authority” to just “an authority.” I assume this’s to allow Metro and other local transit authorities the same latitude?

    Also, it says, “The notice of infraction for violations under this section must be approved by the administrative office of the courts in the same manner as for parking, standing, and stopping infractions.” This answers most of my concerns about non-judicial fines.

      1. I stand corrected. It is just Sound Transit. Sorry.

        I assume counties derive their fare inspection powers from their legislative powers as counties, and don’t need an act of the legislature to make small changes like this.

      2. Except that, as VeloBusDriver says in the other thread, Metro fare inspectors now punt citations to the courts in the same way Sound Transit does. I’d assume that if they have the power to issue citations on the spot, they’d already be doing it.

      3. Check out RCW 36.57A.235.

        It appears Metro and Community Transit would need a separate bill to harmonize their fare inspection provisions with those of a regional transit authority.

    1. As aw linked to, it is a formatting change. RCW 81.112.020 says:

      “Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.

      (1) ‘Authority’ means a regional transit authority authorized under this chapter.”

      The WA legislature has been slowly “cleaning up” the RCW. If a term is defined elsewhere, it is legislative practice to use that term instead of spelling out an alternate (that means the same thing).

      Brent: You are right, there is only one RTA, it is Sound Transit (Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority), and since it derives its existence from state law, it has no legislative body other than the state (since the state didn’t create it as a legislative entity) to give it this sort of authority.

  2. Agree about reducing paid time for fare inspection. But would like to see the money saved put to use not for more inspectors, but for what our system really needs: people paid and trained to rove platforms in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnels, at transit centers, and especially at Sea-Tac Airport giving passengers the information they need to use our system.

    Transit would collect more money with fewer operating delays, with less time lost over either fare collection or informational conversation with drivers- which together probably steal more money in operating delays than evaders steal from lost fares.

    Mark

    1. Sounds like an excellent opportunity for cross-training. Fare inspectors already give out information on other routes. Give them the tools and training to improve their effectiveness.

      1. You’re right, Velo. Both fare inspectors and platform security guards usually do the best they can to give passengers the information they ask for and otherwise assist them. Unfortunately, system doesn’t seem to give them much encouragement.

        When I compliment the platform people for being helpful, they generally indicate they’d like to do more but: “We don’t get any information ourselves.” Especially at the times they need it most.

        It might be better public relations and even better real public security to train and re-uniform these people as station agents, job is passenger assistance, including both information and wheel-chair securement. Main budgetary consideration I can see is saved time and improved service equaling black ink.

        With direct radio contact with the police if hands-on law enforcement is needed. Which is also present unpublicized reality.

        In Gothenburg, Sweden, as in all the Nordic countries, transit security is contracted to Securitas. Would like to see their company routinely send their operatives to Gothenburg, also where Securitas keeps its world headquarters. Which presently overlooks an electric right of way half a mile across, carrying express streetcars to the suburbs and intercity trains to Denmark and Norway.

        With a stone castle on the other side of the tracks, featuring a gold plated lion on the roof holding a sword and roaring. Fare enforcement was harsh in the seventeenth century.

        The new fare inspectors’ uniforms on the streetcar service are highly instructive: short windproof jackets, each with a pastel daisy on the back saying: “Do you have a question? Ask me.” They told me the transit agency would not let them wear standard Securitas uniforms because they didn’t want their presence to intimidate passengers from speaking to them.

        Kind of sad to me, because whatever problems I’ve got with giving public enforcement of any kind to a private company, their general presence, demeanor, and performance personifies deep and serious professionalism. I’d like to see them all, both sides of the Atlantic, sworn in as police officers.

        Would really like to see our transit system in general start sending operating personnel to Gothenburg on a regular basis. It would be good if there were such a thing as “Transit Sister Cities.” Many good lessons there- and Icelandair Flight 680 daily effectively makes the west coast of Sweden up to Oslo part of the Sound Transit service area.

        Mark

  3. It might discourage fare evasion if the culprits also had their pictures taken by those handing out the citation.

    1. My understanding is that fare inspectors routinely photograph the ID of passengers they even issue warnings to. And keep the pictures. My own years both driving and riding transit, often same day and same routes, leave me skeptical of value of punishment where there’s no determined intent to do harm.

      Can anybody say with a straight face that our fare arrangements and information leave nobody honestly confused? And that fares are so easy to pay that process doesn’t really involve a theft of time?

      Watching ORCA get introduced, and attending attitudes on both sides of the farebox, there was a definite sense in the air that the system believed that what people couldn’t figure out was their own fault, and that scolding and penalties were in order to bring them around.

      Make it minimum job requirement (ORCA records now make this easy to verify!) that anyone hired to set up a fare system have at least a documented three years of steady transit riding.

      People whose life’s business plan is to deliberately cheat other people, including the transit system’s co-owners who are their neighbors and fellow passengers, seem best deterred not by severity of punishment, but by certainty of being caught.

      But like every financial exchange from the fare box, through retail sales to the nation’s banking system, best enforcement depends simple, fair, easily-understood rules and clear lines of sight for well-trained observers.

      And like Friedrich Nietzche- ,nobody’s idea of whatever’s German for “wishy-washy”- once said:
      “Beware those in whom the urge to punish is strong.”

      Mark

  4. I have a problem with the state allowing these people to even take pictures of my drivers license, and now allowing them to check peoples names. WSP already said no…these guys aren’t even law enforcement….I am not one not to pay, but i certainly wont be showing them my ID.

    1. Not a problem. Just show them your proof of payment. According to the law, they can only request ID if you fail to show POP.

    2. There are fairly few situations where you’re required by law to carry photo ID, and I can’t imagine riding the train is one of them. But it does appear to be necessary to identify yourself correctly to “enforcement officers” (even though they aren’t police), and if you refuse they’re authorized by state law to detain you until you do.

      I am not a lawyer so my reading of laws should be regarded with skepticism, but here goes: the law says they’re allowed to request identification, including state ID cards, and that if you commit an infraction and refuse to identify yourself they’re allowed to detain you… but it’s not clear whether identifying yourself verbally while refusing to show photo ID would be grounds for detainment.

    3. I believe that the driver’s license/state-issued ID you carry is not “yours,” but rather the State’s (a passport certainly is property of the federal government, for example). If it belonged to the individual it would be difficult to revoke when necessary. I’m not sure you would get far trying to claim that when asked by a representative of the state with authority to ask for it. (As aw says, if you have proof of payment, there’s no reason to ask you for it nor for you to offer it.)

  5. Update: ESHB 2111 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Transportation at 3:30 p.m. this coming Monday, February 24.

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