MCTS loses $336,000 annually to fare jumpers

Should law enforcement monitor fare collections so the county does not lose money? That’s a big question county officials want to address. Data shows that every 90 minutes a bus is in service, someone evades paying a fare.

The Milwaukee County Transit System has long fought battles against so-called fare evaders.

"It depends on the situation, I can't ever say if someone is riding free, but some people might need help with getting on the bus," said Charmaine Davenport, another bus rider.

During a recent committee meeting, we learned the county is losing $336,000 a year to those slipping in and out of buses.

“I think that's kind of unfair, I pay to ride the bus, you know if it's going to be free for that guy, it should be free for everyone," Kareena Menon, another bus rider said.

Brendan Conway with MCTS says you have to look at the big picture.

"Every dollar is important, these are tax dollars, We know that and we take that very seriously," he said. "The vast, vast, vast, vast majority of fares are being collected, people are paying."

Conway says the money lost is about one percent of annual revenue. He says buses bring in $35 million dollars a year.

"We want to collect the $2.25 but if we shut down a bus and 20 people can't get to work or school or that job interview, I'm not sure that's the best plan either," Conway said.

So far this year security has been called around 1,200 times for someone refusing to pay. In nearly 33 percent of these incidents, security has removed the person from not paying. Sometimes people get away.

The committee voted against the proposal but the policy will be voted on again next week in front of the full county board.

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