SEATTLE - Major changes adopted by the metropolitan King County Council would end the policy of criminally charging young people into connection to fare evasion on Metro buses.
“I was shocked to learn that youth can be charged criminally for fare evasion on Metro buses,” said Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, who introduced the motion Monday.
“Young bus riders should be held accountable for evading a fare but not charged criminally."
County Code currently makes the non-payment of bus fare a potential misdemeanor offense for youth. The charge could also lead to the accused being banned from riding the bus, even if it is their only source of transportation. Now, fare evasion remains only a civil citation for youth and adults.
In addition, the motion calls for other changes to Metro's fare enforcement policy:
- Developing a new Metro suspension of use policy to confirm that it is equitable, just and has due process protections for all riders.
- Improving geographic equity for all transit riders trying to resolve their citations (eliminate the “Shoreline Rule” where most fare evasion cases are adjudicated at Shoreline District Court); and
- Ensuring all transit security officers receive specific training in working with adolescents
The motion calls for the county executive to develop a work plan by March 1 for implementing these policies