Cleveland considers new policy for fare cheats

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (OH) may soften its policy against fare evaders by giving scofflaws two days to pay a $50 fine before charging them with a crime. Under the current system, riders caught without paying receive a ticket and are charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor; they can avoid a trial by paying a fine and court costs, which can exceed $150. The RTA says the proposed policy gives riders a chance to pay their fine without facing criminal charges. “This eliminates the burden on the courts and gives offenders the ability to avoid prosecution,” RTA general counsel Sheryl King Benford told the board. But local leaders say the punishment does not fit the crime. “If someone can’t pay $2.25 for a fare, how do they come up with $50 in 48 hours,” Stanley Miller, executive director of the Cleveland NAACP, asked The Plain Dealer. RTA uses an honor-based system on its BRT and Red Line routes. Link to full story in The Plain Dealer.

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