Saturday, October 25, 2008


I was driving the northbound 4 and pulled up to the bus stop at 5th and Hennepin. This chick got on and tagged her Go-to card. It said it was a mobility fare so I asked for the required ID. She seemed surprised and told me she didn't have one. She went on to tell me that no other drivers ever ask her for any ID. I explained that it is required and we shouldn't have to ask. I also explained that it was illegal, a felony actually, to pay mobility fare without the proper ID. She got an instant attitude...a very bad one. She said she didn't have any ID and she had to go get her kids.

I told her she would have to pay the fare or get off the bus. She got really snotty with me and said "I'm not going anywhere!" I had just about reached the end of my rope with her. I said "Wanna bet?" and called for the police. I explained to the Control Center the situation as she stood right next to me. I also told Control that the person had a "very nasty attitude" and that I wasn't about to put up with it. They were about to send police when the fare evader realized she wasn't going to win this one. She called me a few things...not very nice things...and she got off the bus.

I had seen a 6 bus behind me and she had told me where she was going. The 6 would have gotten her close. I had hung up with Control and didn't want to bother them again since Little Miss Nasty Attitude had gotten off my bus. I was quite pleased to find out later that the driver of the 6 had passed her by. I had held him up with this little incident and he just wanted to make the light and blew past her.

I have the same schedule next week. Hopefully, if I see her again I can get the cops there to confiscate the illegal card. It's just not fair to the honest people that pay the whole fare every day. I plan to push for the $180 fare evasion ticket for her, too. The actually penalty, seeing as it IS considered a felony, is up to $5,000 fine and/or 3 years in prison.

It doesn't pay to piss off the bus driver! Especially if YOU are the one doing something illegal...on multiple cameras!!


Blogger KYLE said...

I commend you on this one. The few riders that give trouble can make issue for everyone on the bus if the driver gets sucked into trying to argue with the person. As a rider I'm glad you didn't entertain an argument at the risk of making the route late.

I hope that ya'll are able to catch her red-handed again and start a case against her for using the mobility fare illegally.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tuff call .... they need show the card at mt store not sure if it needed once on the bus i might be wrong

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Stan Shunpike said...

In fairness, I did not just blow by your attitude case because I wanted to make the light -- that would be wrong. However, since I was sitting behind you for almost 5 minutes (and I was already running late), I figured that if someone had really wanted the 6 they had plenty of time to walk back to my bus.

Oh well...

1:29 AM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

Anon - Yes, every time someone pays mobility fare to ride they are required to show ID. In a perfect world, they would all do this. Unfortunately, few actually do because drivers get tired of asking so it is a policy that is rarely enforced. I really wish more drivers (ALL would be nice) would actually request ID. If they did, the scammers would realize that the game is no longer going to work and there would be a LOT less people even trying to scam in this way.

Kyle - Thanks for your support. I'm sure to see her again. Would be nice if other drivers would request ID...she'd be caught much more quickly then...and so would the many others!

Stan - U know U didn't want her on your bus! You're just trying to be nice and sound worked. Keep up the good work! :)

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Nualle said...

My spouse and I picked up go-to cards at the same time, months ago. She gets MetroMobility fares (except during rush hours), I don't. When we got the cards, she showed her IDs.

She was explicitly told by the person who helped us that she would NEVER need to show her IDs again. The card would automatically take the correct fare for the time used with no further hassle. This was a positive selling point as scanning the go-to card is so much more convenient (and faster, more considerate of those behind) than fumbling in a wallet for two supplementary cards.

I'd say half the woman's attitude may have been surprise that turned into belligerence when you played bureaucrat rather than neighbor. She was no danger to you or anyone on your bus. You overreacted, in my opinion.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

Nualle - That is unfortunate. They are incorrect to say that because you use a go-to card you do not need ID. The problem is, legitimate mobility customers give/lend their go-to cards to others. That is why, no matter how you pay, ID is ALWAYS required when paying a mobility fare. Too bad a few bad apples spoil it for the majority of people,who are fair and honest. That is the world we live in.

The fact that this lady had no ID just leads me to believe she was not really a true mobility customer. Most people carry their ID when they leave the house. Regardless, she was required to show it to pay a mobility fare. It is actually a felony not to.

I don't agree that I overreacted. When you enforce the rules, you are just doing your job. If ALL drivers would card people, those that try and scam would stop trying.

I believe everyone has a right to their opinion. Rarely does EVERYONE agree. Thank you for your comment.

11:08 AM  
Blogger minneapolismayor said...

My understanding is that it would and should be a bigger offense to use a mobility goto that isn't yours than to not pay a fare because this scam would be either a long-term scam, possibly a card you stole from someone, or both.

That being said, I think it's probably a thing where the driver can card you but doesn't have to, just like with cigarettes and booze at most stores. If the clerk/driver thinks you're not eligible for the fare/old enough to buy then they have the right to check and if you have no ID, tough luck.

Just like it would be a waste of time to card an obviously-old-enough person for cigs, it's probably not necessary to card someone with a walker, wheelchair, crutches, etc for mobility--but it's ok to card them if you like. My gripe is the people who don't look disabled who don't get carded. While they may have a nonvisible disability, those are the folks I'd check.

But the main advantage of Senior or mobility goto's is that the driver does not need to reset the fare box to deduct the correct amount. My older neighbor gets senior fare and used to use stored value to save money but stopped because oftentimes even when he showed ID, the drivers would not properly reprogram the farebox and he had too much hassle to get proper fare and had to use quarters. When I got my goto and some promotional material that mentioned that it automatically deducts a reduced fare for customers who get their card at the transit store with valid ID, I told him, he got one, and now is quite happy with it. I'm not sure if he gets carded, but I'm sure he has ID because he regularly patronizes a "card-everyone" liquor store.

Bottom line, bring ID, and if you get carded, show it. It's still faster payment than the old way.

Finally, two factual corrections:

1. Mobility fares on regular-route buses are 75cents 24/7. It's only on Metro Mobility that customers pay extra during Rush Hour. Seniors and Youth on regular routes also pay full fare during rush but 75 cents during non rush.

2. Jeanne, if it is a felony, it's only a felony if you refuse to show ID when asked. I seriously doubt that anyone would get charged with anything if they paid the fare and showed no ID but the driver didn't question it.

12:54 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

Minn - Paying a mobility fare without the proper ID is a felony. I believe that is because the mobility fares are highly subsidized by the government. Other fare issues, like riding without paying a fare,are a misdemeanor...$180 ticket and/or trespass notice. Trespassers are not allowed on ANY transit property (not even a bus shelter) for 30 days. If they continue to trespass, they can be fined and put in jail.

Drivers should not have to ask for ID. It is required, so it should ALWAYS be shown when paying mobility fare. I get what you mean about being able to tell if someone is qualified, but that is not true. There was actually a guy that rode the 5 in a wheelchair just to get downtown. You could see him strolling Hennepin Ave all the time. He just used it figuring he wouldn't be asked for ID. He got so well known, he was given a trespass notice and fined. Also, just because someone has a walker or cane does not mean they automatically qualify. Sometimes it is a temporary injury that doesn't qualify. You just never know. That is why mobility customers are supposed to show ID every time they pay mobility fare.

As far as Metro Mobility, that is separate from us. I don't know their fares/policies.

Finally, it IS a felony to not have/show proper ID when paying mobility fare. The drivers are even given papers to hand out if questioned. It states that it is a felony and is punishable up to 3 years in prison and/or $5000 fine. Of course, if drivers don't ask for the ID and are not shown any, it can't be prosecuted. Again, it is required to show ID so we shouldn't have to ask.

Since there are cameras on all the buses and these transactions are all recorded, it would be hard to fight in court. It's just not worth it to save a buck or two. $5000 would pay a lot of fares!

Thanks for your comment!

4:16 PM  

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