"Tempe Cesspool for the Arts"

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Light rail narcs lose money hand over fist!

  Light rail narcs lose money hand over fist!

"On average, Metro light rail takes in 76 cents in fare per passenger" - I guess they are losing money like crazy! It cost them something like $15 to provide the services to each passenger and they collect .76 in revenue. Now that is losing money like crazy.

"The 5,660 free-loaders caught last year represented roughly $4,300 in lost revenue" - I bet they lose money like crazy paying the light rail narcs to bust these people. They are only busting 15 people a day, which means if all 15 people pay the $50 fine they are only pulling in $775 in revenue. I bet they pay the light rail narcs that patrol the system more then that.

The article says they have "14 officers per shift" and at minimum wage of $7.25/hr they are paying the light rail narcs a total of $101.50 per hour or $812 for an 8 hour shift. If those facts are true they are spending $1,624 for two shifts of light rail narcs and collecting $775 in revenue from fines so they are losing $849 a day. And that is assuming they pay min wage to the light rail narcs. They probably pay the light rail narcs a lot more then that, which means they are losing a lot more money then a measly $849 a day.


Metro light rail officials crack down on rail-fare scofflaws

by Emily Gersema - Oct. 23, 2010 12:00 AM

The Arizona Republic

Whenever uniformed Phoenix police officers board a light-rail car, passengers fish through their purses and pockets to show their fare passes.

And in some instances, a rider walks briskly to the door to leave.

"We had one guy who jumped off when we got on the other day," recalled Officer Dejan Nadzakovic. "We got off, waited and saw him at the next stop. He just didn't want to buy a ticket."

Nadzakovic said they issued the 19-year-old man headed for Mesa a $50 citation for failure to pay for the ride.

Through Nov. 14, Metro light rail officials are targeting freeloaders on the 20-mile light-rail line that runs from 19th and Montebello avenues in Phoenix to Sycamore and Main Street in Mesa.

Inspectors decide whether to verbally warn a scofflaw or issue a civil citation, which carries a $50 fine plus court fees. Repeat offenders may face a $500 fine.

In the Valley, Metro light rail relies on an honor system. Unlike the trains in Chicago and Washington, D.C., the Valley's light-rail platforms have no turnstiles to force passenger honesty.

But so far, the honor system has worked. Fewer than 1 percent of Metro light rail riders have cheated the system since it opened in December 2008, said Metro light rail spokeswoman Hillary Foose said.

On average, Metro light rail takes in 76 cents in fare per passenger. The 5,660 free-loaders caught last year represented roughly $4,300 in lost revenue.

Each month, inspectors randomly check about 12 to 15 percent of the 1 million boardings for valid fare.

Fare inspectors are doing more random checks than usual for fare passes, and more officers are helping with fare inspection, Foose said.

Fares vary. For instance, riders can buy a one-trip fare ticket for $1.75, or a 31-day pass for $55.

Typically, 12 uniformed officers per shift are assigned to help with fare inspection on the light-rail line in Phoenix. Now, 14 officers per shift assist with fare checks, she said. In Tempe and Mesa, inspectors with a contract firm, Wackenhut, check fare cards. They also have increased their random checks, Foose said.

Nadzakovic usually is on patrol at the Estrella Mountain Precinct on Phoenix's west side.

He said he's on fare-inspection duty for two weeks, patrolling the light-rail line, checking park-and-ride lots and supervising while police assistants verify that riders have paid their fare.

Metro light rail decided to increase inspections in response to callers who frequently notify the transit agency whenever they see someone on the trains they suspect didn't pay fare.

Emma Mahlstein, 22, of Gilbert, said Metro light rail inspectors should conduct more fare checks.

Light rail "is a privilege," said Mahlstein, a nursing student at Arizona State University's downtown Phoenix campus who carries an ASU U-Pass to ride light rail for $85 a year.

"We see people get on without paying all the time," said Megan Schaeffer, 25, also an ASU nursing student from Gilbert with a U-Pass.

Inspectors during this renewed enforcement effort are using new handheld card readers to ensure that riders have validated fare.

Police assistant Dee Thornton on Friday carried one of the machines - about the size of an engineer's calculator - to verify passengers' fare cards by holding them up to a scanner on the back of the device or by swiping the magnetic-stripped tickets.

The screen shone green if the ticket or pass was validated correctly at the platform kiosks. The screen read "not valid" in red if the card had expired or the rider failed to validate it at a kiosk before boarding.

Thornton said she sometimes shows the riders who didn't pay how to use the fare kiosks. Other times, she will warn the passenger that fare is required to ride. Citations are rarer, she said.

"We don't always have to ticket," she said.


Tempe Center for the Arts

Tempe Cesspool for the Arts