The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is preparing to take action against fare evasion on Metrobus and Metrorail.
Metro is planning to launch a warning campaign this month, targeting individuals who don’t pay their fare before riding to emphasize possible fines associated with the act.
Evading fares is a civil offense in the District and perpetrators may face a potential fine of $50, which could go up to $100 in Maryland and Virginia.
During the first two weeks of the warning campaign, riders will see digital signage that will inform them about these fines.
After the first two weeks, in addition to the public display signs, Metro Transit Police (MTPD) officers and other Metro personnel will begin handing out physical warnings to raise awareness of fines.
In the wake of the warning campaign, systemwide enforcement will start in November, with MTPD issuing citations.
“Nonpayment of fares hurts everyone and unfairly punishes those customers who follow the rules,” WMATA said in a statement. “This campaign will educate and warn fare evaders systemwide that there are consequences associated with nonpayment on Metrorail and Metrobus and identify the penalties associated with citations in each jurisdiction.”
Fare revenues accounted for $213.5 million of Metro funding in the fiscal year 2022, and fare evasions caused a loss of more than $40 million in revenue, according to the transit agency.