Friday, August 17, 2007

RETURN TO LAKE STREET

I haven't done the 21 down Lake Street in a while. Can't say that I missed it. This past week I've been back on the 21. Luckily, I was doing it pretty early in the morning. The real troublemakers don't seem to get out until later.

It is odd how certain routes, like the 21 and the 5, seem to just have far more scamming people than other routes. Some routes, you may get a couple scammers a week. Others, maybe once a day. The 21 you are pretty much guaranteed at least one every couple hours. Usually, it's someone that is using mobility transfers from the light rail that doesn't have the required ID to use them. They make it so easy to cheat the system when you can just walk up to a machine and choose your fare. Never mind that it is actually a FELONY to pay mobility fare without the proper ID. That's right. Three years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. If they actually prosecuted this crime, we'd have a heck of a lot fewer riders and they'd have to build more prisons!

I had a couple just yesterday that must wake up out of bed scamming. I pulled into the Uptown Station and as I passed a bus already parked there I noticed it had cleaning towels rubber-banded over the entire top of the farebox. Obviously, his farebox broke so he was giving free rides. I no more than stopped my bus and a couple was at my door. The woman tried to tell me that they needed transfers because the other guys' farebox was broken. I told them to just pay the next bus. She tried to tell me that they paid the broken farebox but didn't get a transfer. I KNEW she was lying...though there was a tiny chance they may have been the ones that paid their fares when the transfers jammed. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, yet not ready to fall for a scam at 5:30 in the morning, I told her I'd talk to the other driver. As I went into the transit station, I saw the two scammers running away across the street. I told the other driver what happened. He confirmed they had gotten a free ride and he seemed impressed at how I handled it. He even said, "That was SMART!"


I also had the other typical scams... I just got out of jail so I need a free ride. I lost my transfer so I want a free ride AND another transfer. My transfer is about to expire so I need you to give me another one. I don't have change for this larger bill. (Never mind that Lake Street has shops and stores all the way up and down both sides of the street for miles!) My girlfriend/boyfriend kicked me out and I just need this free ride and life will be great again. They just get better and better.

I don't know why any driver with any seniority chooses to drive Lake Street. I don't mind it for a break from the duller routes, but I'd go nuts dealing with people trying to scam me every day. I'd have to check the mirror after work every day... just to make sure it didn't say "SUCKER" across my forehead!

4 Comments:

Blogger Missy said...

I woke up this morning, so I need a free ride.

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It makes no sense for someone to pay mobility fare on rail when the person does not qualify even if the penalty was not harsher than the $180 misdemeanor fare evasion ticket. Let's think this through... on rail, either Metro Police are going to show up and check tickets or they aren't. If they don't, it doesn't matter whether you pay anything as long as you don't mind cheating the system. If they do, you get the $180 ticket whether you paid no fare or the mobility fare. Having a harsher penalty for paying the mobility fare than for paying no fare makes it make even less sense!

8:52 PM  
Blogger Kassie said...

Just remember, when they get out of jail they get $100, so this is never a reason to not pay your fare.

11:00 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

Anyone that doesn't pay also can be find $180 for fare evasion on either the bus or train, not just those that chose to pay mobility when they don't qualify for it.

Back in my bad girl days, I got arrested a couple times. I never got $100 when they let me out. I don't think that is true.

9:35 PM  

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