Metro began a public-notice campaign on fare evasion Tuesday ahead of the transit system’s decision to start issuing tickets to gate jumpers come November.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) said that the warning campaign will feature digital notices displayed throughout the system for two weeks, and then Metro Transit Police will hand out fliers to fare evaders letting them know the amount they can be fined — $100 in Virginia and Maryland, and $50 in the District.
By November, transit police will begin ticketing offenders.
“Many people have mentioned going to a fare-free model, but fare-free does not mean free,” Randy Clarke, Metro’s general manager and CEO, said in a press release. “There are costs associated with running the community’s transit system and therefore the necessary revenues must exist to deliver the services the community needs.”
WMATA also said that it is working on new fare-gate prototypes that physically prevent riders from jumping over the gates. They’re being tested by employees now and customers will see the new gates come early 2023.
The transit system estimated that it lost $40 million in revenue due to fare evasion in fiscal year 2022. That makes up 22% of WMATA’s $185 million budget shortfall.