- Associated Press - Thursday, April 4, 2019

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia’s main transit system has quietly eased up on turnstile jumpers this year, slashing fines and decriminalizing fare evasion.

WHYY reports the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority put the policy in place Jan. 14. The change reduces tickets from $300 to $25. Repeat offenders get four strikes before they’re banned from SEPTA’s trains, buses and trolleys.

A SEPTA spokeswoman tells PhillyVoice the change is meant to ease the financial burden of fines and to free up transit police to focus on serious crimes.

Going after fare beaters was a pillar of the “Broken Windows” theory of the early 1990s. It argued that ignoring smaller crimes only cleared the way for bigger ones to happen. Critics say the strategy became a pretense to unfairly target poor minorities.

Manhattan adopted a similar policy in 2018.



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