GRTC looking to combat Pulse fare evasion

GRTC looking to combat Pulse fare evasion

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The GRTC Pulse Project was launched as a means of more rapid bus service for the city, but some people may be pulling a fast one on the transit company by riding without paying.

At any given time, GRTC says at least three fare enforcers check to make sure riders pay their fares, but with only a handful of monitors and potentially dozens of riders getting on and off at each stop, some fare-skippers could be getting away with it.

“There is going to be a certain level of fare evasion- that’s going to be expected anywhere in the world," GRTC Director of Communications Carrie Rose Pace said. “What we have to decide is what is the acceptable level of fare evasion. We’re sill in the first year of the service. We’re looking to refine what we consider is tolerable, and we are still working through the City of Richmond’s legal process."

Pace said the transit company is looking into a five-strike system, which could ultimately land a non-paying rider with fines.

Unfortunately, in order to keep track of the strikes, the rider would have to consent to giving information to enforcers. Pace says GRTC would rather not escalate situations.

“Our primary goal is safety and education," Pace said. “We don’t want to pick a fight."

GRTC spends about $475,000 for fare enforcement services, according to Pace, and riders we spoke to say fare enforcement has been tight on their routes.

“Nine times out of 10, there’s someone there checking,” daily rider Marques Bailey said.

Frequent rider Jermaine Hudson says in his experience, his pass is checked before he even boards.

“Sometimes before you get on the Pulse bus, they’ll have security before you get on the Pulse bus to check your pass to see if you paid to go," he said.

Currently, no non-paying riders have been given citations as Pace says the transit company is working with the city on penalties and other enforcement methods to help curb the behavior.

Copyright 2019 WWBT. All rights reserved.