Everyone should be able to ride our public transit systems with dignity. Right now, when people don’t—or can’t—pay for transit fare, they’re faced with a heavy-handed fine and a permanent criminal record. Imagine spending time in jail—and then being denied housing, employment, and access to transportation—simply because you couldn’t afford a $2 bus ride. We wouldn’t enforce parking tickets with a $200 fine and criminalization, so why are we criminalizing people who rely on public transportation?
To create a transportation system that is more equitable and just, Move Minnesota is working to change how transit fares are enforced. We demand that the Minnesota Legislature end the harmful fare enforcement practice currently mandated by state law, and replace it with a support-based ambassadors system that addresses the underlying reasons why fares sometimes go unpaid. Fares should be checked by non-police transit ambassadors who have access to information about social services, safe housing, and other resources. Move Minnesota supports a complete solution—that provides ambassadors and fully decriminalizes fare evasion—because the problems created by a partial solution are too big to ignore.
Why It Matters
A new approach to fare enforcement is urgently needed in both the metro region and across our state. The criminalization of fare evasion is the criminalization of poverty and creates harmful inequities in our transit system, failing people most in need. In the Twin Cities, criminal citations and arrests under the current system have disproportionately been enforced on people of color. Criminalization and incarceration have life-changing consequences for individuals and families, with damaging ripple effects in our communities as a whole. Further, police presence on transit is often not appropriate or safe for riders—creating an alternative program will make the transit experience more safe and welcoming for all riders.
Being unable to pay for bus fare
should not be a crime.
Move Minnesota is currently working with our partners to reintroduce a bill in 2021 that upholds the vision of decriminalization and a transit ambassador program.
Related News & Updates
May 14, 2021
The Human Impact of Unjust Fare Enforcement
The state’s current fare enforcement policy forces heavy fines and criminal penalties on people who are unable to pay for transit fare. What both firsthand rider experience and progress around the country say about the need for Minnesota to decriminalize fare nonpayment.
April 7, 2021
Bipartisan Legislators Should Go All the Way in Decriminalizing Fare Evasion
The current fare enforcement process is unjust and inconsistent. We’re advocating at the State Capitol for decriminalization and fair fare enforcement.
July 15, 2020
A Complete Solution: Our Fight for Fair Transit Fare Enforcement Continues
Move Minnesota supports a complete solution—that provides ambassadors and fully decriminalizes fare evasion.
Explore Other Initiatives
We’re building coalitions, engaging communities, organizing with
advocates, and more.
Prioritizing Transit During COVID
Working with policy makers to ensure transit funding and operations are a priority in all legislative decisions.
Boost the Bus Campaign
The Twin Cities needs faster, better bus rides for more people. We are advocating for simple solutions with the power to make a big impact.
Move Minnesota leads a coalition of statewide partner organizations calling on the legislature to increase funding for bus, rail, bicycling, and walking.