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
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 17, 2020
Move Minnesota Supports Metro Transit Staff Demanding Action
The changes outlined in the letter will help make that a reality for more people.
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.
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