Saturday, February 14, 2009


There is a special 50 cent fare for people traveling within the downtown zone. It always amazes me when people try to extend the limits of WHERE the limits are.

There has been a seemingly nice young lady that was getting on at the stop where the downtown zone limits begin all week. One day, she was at the stop just before it. It is about 1-1 and a half blocks away. She smiled and put in 50 cents. I smiled and told her the fare was $1.75. She said she was just going downtown. I told her she was not within the downtown zone limits. She put in another quarter and looked at me. She went and sat down. I turned and looked at her like she lost her mind. I told her the fare was $1.75 and she came up and put in the missing dollar.

She's not a bad person. Just one that thought she'd test the limits. My thing is, there is a downtown zone...period. If you choose not to walk a block to be in it, then you have to pay the full fare. If we start extending the zone, soon people 6 blocks away will be doing the same thing.

The young lady got on the next day at the downtown zone stop. As usual, I smiled and said "Good morning" and she smiled and said "Good morning" to me. When she got off, I gave my usual "Have a nice day" and she thanked me and got harm done.

I think most people know the rules, but some will try to bend them. She wasn't mad at me for enforcing the rules. I know she knew she was wrong. She just didn't know if she could get away with it until she tried. Now she knows...and we are still friendly with each other. That's what counts.


Blogger minneapolismayor said...

Hmm. I usually notice more trouble regarding passengers not getting off at the DT Zone rather than getting on too early. Some drivers enforce it, some don't, but people always get pissed when a driver tells them to get off or pay up.

I also enjoy certain drivers mentioning "Beginning of the Downtown Zone" to passengers, when all of us all (presumably) paid normal fare. Maybe your story is why. Or maybe they just like talking. I have ridden on some routes where there's like two people, we just left the start of the route, and the guy is announcing every stop. I understand main intersections, but guess what? I'm not the kind of person to wait 20 minutes to go 3 blocks. Save your breath.

3:16 PM  
Blogger John Charles Wilson said...

You may be interested in knowing about the problems Portland, Oregon is having with their downtown zone.... They are considering abolishing it entirely. There are too many articles for me to pick one to link to. Please Google "Fareless Square"....

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a driver and later a training assistant in another system, and my understanding is that announcing stops is the law (required by ADA). I don't know the details, but our policy was to require drivers to announce every stop they actually service. We had a number of "mandatory" stops where the driver had to stop regardless of whether anyone pulled the cord or was standing at the stop, and those stops tended to be the major ones, so those always got announced.

Granted, a lot of drivers, both there and here, don't announce stops like they are supposed to, but that was the policy there.

- Andrew

9:23 AM  
Blogger minneapolismayor said...

John-I had heard of that briefly on the Thom Hartmann show; (he lives there) and it sounds messed up. But that example is a bit different--as the name would suggest, their downtown zone fare is zero.

Andrew-I wasn't saying drivers should stop announcing stops entirely; certainly the main streets are a good idea (ie on route 18 you have 46th, 38th, Lake, Franklin, etc), especially those that are transfer points. But when you do each corner, that's messed up. I've even once had a driver announce stops he couldn't even make (they were on the non-stop portion of a limited stop route!)

Most drivers, though, either do just the major streets or none at all.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good for you! stick to your guns!

11:02 AM  
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8:06 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Speaking of fare violators - A guy who is clearly very able bodied uses a mobility Go-To Card gets on at the same stop as me in the morning and makes the same transfer. I hate to see someone get away with fare evasion. Should I say something to the driver or is there an email address where I can get a hold of someones attention?

9:44 PM  
Blogger John Charles Wilson said...

Andrew - He could have an "invisible" disability like mental illness. As long as he has proper ID for the mobility card, unless you have real evidence he lied about something to get it, you really have no case.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Karl O. said...


I recently found out about your blog from another Metro Driver's blog called the Transit Librarian. I don't have my own blog, but would love to get your opinions on working for Metro Transit and the job as a whole. I have recently passed my CDL permits and initial tests, and am now waiting to be called for an interview at the moment. The best way to reach me would be at I am hesitant to join the blog world at this point as I already have a full online plate, but I am hoping that you would write me at the e-mail address I listed above and let me know any advice, tips, suggestions, etc. you might have about embracing Metro Transit as a career. You can also find me on Facebook if you do a search for Karl Obermeyer, or through my band's Myspace page at I look forward to hearing from you when you have a chance.



4:29 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

Minn - I usually announce the end of the DT zone when I've had people pay the zone fare. I have never announced the beginning. The only reason I can see to do that would be to inform those that may not know and may want to use it in the future.

As far as calling streets, it is the law. We are required to call all controlled intersections (stop light/sign). Even if we don't stop there it helps the visually impaired know where they are. Even if there is only one passenger, it is required that we do it.

Andrew - Not all mobility issues are ones you can visually see. The driver should ask for mobility ID to confirm this person is qualified. Chances are, if this person is a regular and so is the driver, the driver has checked the ID before. I wish all people using mobility fares would show ID every time, like they are supposed to. It would make our job easier. Usually it is the cheaters that don't show it, I've found. You could mention something to the driver. I would suggest using more of a concerned tone than a confrontational get more flies with honey! If you have no luck, you could contact the bus company and they could send someone (supervisor/officer) to check on this person at their stop.

12:01 PM  
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5:10 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

Anon - I don't agree. I'm glad we have a Union as a mediator between the employee and management, should an issue arise. I respect your opinion though. Thanks for your comment!

5:59 PM  

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