The MARTA Police Department is cracking down on fare evaders. Police said they made 538 arrests during a recent six-week effort in which plainclothes officers closely monitored fare gates across MARTA’s 38 rail stations.
In addition to the arrests, the effort led to hundreds of suspensions from the MARTA system. Officials say evaders run the gamut—from young people to older patrons—trying to take advantage of the system. The fare losses, officials said, are making an impact on MARTA’s bottom line.
“Our fare evasion task force has worked around the clock to focus our attention to those seeking to avoid paying fare at our stations,” said MPD Chief Wanda Dunham. “We have watched riders piggyback behind a person when the fare gates open and some even attempt to go over or under the gates.”
In 2017, the MARTA Police Department (MPD) developed a Fare Evasion Task Force dedicated to reducing fare evasion throughout the system.
“We take fare evasion extremely seriously and will continue to work to ensure the safety and security for all of our customers,” said MARTA General Manager/CEO Keith Parker. “Every year, transit authorities across the nation lose millions of dollars in revenue due to fare evaders. We are actively working to curb this behavior through the efforts of our Fare Evasion Task Force.”
Individuals arrested for fare evasion automatically receive a 60-day suspension from using MARTA’s bus and rail services. If a fare evader is arrested and fails to produce valid identification, then the suspect is lodged in jail.
“Our officers’ ability to blend in with other customers while monitoring activity at the fare gates has been essential in quickly apprehending individuals looking to circumvent the payment system,” said Dunham. “We encourage all of our customers to be on the lookout for any inappropriate activity and download MARTA’s “See Something, Say Something” mobile app to report any suspicious or criminal behavior.”
The fare evasion effort is a part of MARTA’s “Ride with Respect” initiative, which focuses on passenger safety and the transit agency’s customer code of conduct.
MARTA customers who notice any criminal or inappropriate behavior are encouraged to use the mobile app or contact MPD at 404-848-4911.