Fare evasion fines on GO Transit could soon change to 3-strike policy with mixed prices
Metrolinx is looking to change their policies on instances when commuters are caught without valid proof of payment, to a three-strike policy.
According to a Memorandum dated Sept. 8 and entitled "new graduated fee structure for fare related offences," staff want to see an amendment to the Metrolinx By-Law No. 7 that "would give revenue protection officers and special constables the ability to issue escalating fines corresponding to a level of offence."
In simple terms, instead of issuing commuters with a $100 fine each time they are found to not have a valid ticket, Metrolinx will issue fines based on first, second or third offences.
First-time offenders will be handed a $35 fine, if they are found without a valid ticket for a second time, they will receive a $50 fine.
For your third offence, Metrolinx will fine you $100.
If you are caught more than three times without proper fare or proof, customers will be automically served a provincial offence notice with a set $200 fine.
This may lead to a court appearance with the potential of fines up to $5,000
"This new approach to managing fare-related offences would enable Metrolinx to recover lost revenue while ensuring a fair, consistent approach for fare evaders, while improving the perception of fairness among compliant customers," read the memorandum.
The smaller fee of $35 is described as a "nominal value that aligns closer to fare recovery," while the $50 and $100 fines are intended to act as greater deterrents to fare evasion.
"This tiered approach is not intended to be punitive but rather would serve as a general and escalating deterrent to change or alter customer behaviour as it relates to fare payment responsibility," says Metrolinx.
It's important to note that currently, if commuters do not have a valid fare or proof, officers can either issue a $100 fine or educational notice for first-time offences or minor non-compliances.
This means that ultimately it's up to the responding officer if and when fines are issued.
"This proposed graduated fee structure is being developed through an anti-racism-focused lens to prevent and remove any discrimination or bias in the design, application, training, community outreach and accountability mechanisms of the program and ensure the fair and equitable treatment of all passengers."
If this amendment is approved, it would come into place on Oct. 10, 2022. Additional training for officers would also be mandatory, focusing on racial profiling, unconscious bias and "other" related topics.
"This is to ensure all passengers are treated in a fair and equitable manner under the new graduated fee structure," read the documents.
The matter will be discussed at the Sept. 8 board of directors meeting.
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