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  • Writer's pictureMario Valadez

Bill to Decriminalize Fare Evasion Heads to Governor’s Desk

The Decriminalize Fare Evasion Bill (AB 819, Bryan) has passed the legislature, and now it’s up to Governor Gavin Newsom to sign it into law. The measure makes a third instance of fare evasion an infraction rather than a misdemeanor and removes jail time for people who aren’t able to pay the fines.

This vital bill is on the governor’s desk now. Please sign our petition to show your support and encourage him to decriminalize fare evasion.

Fare evasion tickets don’t work

Existing law allows transit agencies to levy fines of up to $250 for a first or second offense of fare evasion and up to $400 for a third or subsequent offense, and those limits won’t change if AB 819 becomes law. However, agencies can choose to set lower penalties. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) decriminalized fare evasion in 2008, and since that time, “has not seen measurable increases in fare evasion, nor has it seen revenue decreases affecting the agency’s bottom line.”

Most people fined for boarding without a ticket or misusing a transfer or pass aren’t able to pay, so penalties and late fees can make these tickets unfairly punitive.By decriminalizing fare evasion, we can ensure that individuals facing financial hardships are not burdened with additional legal consequences, potentially exacerbating their situation and limiting their access to essential services. We should invest in alternative solutions that address the root causes, such as implementing low-income fare programs or providing community-based support to those facing economic challenges.


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