Watch out, would-be fare evaders!
The MBTA says citations for fare evasion are up 59 percent so far this year. They’ve issued 3,614 citations, compared with 2,268 in the same period a year before.
MBTA Transit Police Superintendent in Chief Joseph O’Connor said his officers have cracked down on fare evaders because it’s what the public wants.
“It’s very clear the public saw this as an important issue. Policing at our point of entry is a good law enforcement strategy and it has had positive effects on preventing crimes on our system,” said O’Connor. “People see the officers and the high visibility makes a difference.”
The fare evasion offender law first went into effect in 2007 and on July 1, the penalties for a first offense on fare evasion jumped from $15 to $50.
“We think the increased fines will act as a deterrent,” said O’Connor. He said that after people are issued a citation, the vast majority do not reoffend.
He also said some fare evaders turn out to be wanted on warrants for other crimes.
That fact was highlighted by an announcement earlier in the day that two men had been arrested for fare evasion in separate incidents at the Red Line’s Quincy Center Station Tuesday evening. In both cases, the men turned out to be wanted on drug charges, transit police said.
At about 5:30 p.m., transit police noticed Taurek Dugha, 31, of Quincy had entered the station without paying by closely following a paying customer through the fare gates.
Transit police had arrested Dugha on Aug. 14 for distributing marijuana at Quincy Center Station. He posted bail and was scheduled to appear in Quincy District Court on Aug. 15 but failed to show up, Transit Police said.
Transit police took Dugha to their headquarters Tuesday and issued him a citation for fare evasion. Dugha was to appear in Quincy District Court today.
At about 6:30 p.m., officers watched Robert Kyller, 34, of Braintree enter the station, also by closely following a paying customer through the gates, transit police said.
Transit Police stopped Kyller to issue him a citation and discovered three outstanding warrants for his arrest on drug charges.
Transit police took Kyller to their headquarters and issued him a citation for fare evasion. Kyller was also slated to appear in Quincy District Court today, Transit Police said.Melissa Werthmann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.