When Minnesotans ride transit without paying a fare, they can be punished with criminal penalties and hundreds of dollars in fines. It’s a heavy-handed approach that is dramatically different from the way parking tickets are enforced — and state law is to blame.
New legislation advancing at the State Capitol includes important steps in the right direction—but goes seriously wrong by leaving misdemeanors and arrests on the books. This mistake leaves the door open to more of the discriminatory fare enforcement that Black, brown, and Native American riders in the metro have already experienced.
Urge lawmakers to add decriminalization to these bills to ensure all transit riders are treated equally and with dignity.
We can make critical progress with the parking-ticket-style administrative citations and supportive, non-police transit representatives Move Minnesota and allies are advocating for—and these positive reforms need your support. But two systems of justice where one person could receive an administrative citation for not paying a fare and another—on the same train—could find themselves arrested and even prosecuted with a criminal misdemeanor is not the solution we need.
Being unable to pay for bus fare should not be a crime. PERIOD.
Take action now to push lawmakers for a complete solution that includes decriminalization. Tell them we need their commitment to:
- Fix these bills to explicitly decriminalize fare nonpayment.
- Support parking-ticket-style administrative citations for fare enforcement.
- Support a transit agent/ambassador program that assists with administrative enforcement and connects riders to resources.
- Reject the Senate’s problematic add-ons that will hurt people most in need, including a mandatory transit ban if someone can’t pay their fare twice in 60 days.
Send a message now. Tell House and Senate Conference Committee members to end Minnesota’s unfair and unjust fare enforcement policy this session and make meaningful progress toward ensuring our transit system is welcoming to people of every race and income.