SEPTA announces new enforcement effort for fare evasion

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- SEPTA is changing how it goes after those trying to score free rides.

On Thursday, officials announced that instead of criminal citations and a court date, offenders will now be slapped with a $25 fine for first time and repeated offenses.

"Somedays I lose my TransPass, so I get on for free," one young rider told us.

The teen, who we are not identifying, says he has almost been busted by employees.

"They called the cops and I ran," he explained.

SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel says they now want to give rule breakers a chance to get it right.

"We want to provide an opportunity for folks who make that mistake it just not have it follow them for the rest of their life," Nestel said.

Nestel adds this in no way is a lapse in enforcement.

If anything, it's more strict.

Violators who rack up four tickets, and don't pay their fines, now risk being labeled repeat offenders and a ban on SEPTA property for a year.

"If you decide to try and challenge and slip into that system without us seeing, keep in mind it's 26,000 cameras and that time you'll be arrested," Nestel added.

Some SEPTA riders say they support the new initiative also designed to free up police and give congested courts some breathing room.

"A simple ticket, pay it don't do it again try and get that $2.50, I'm for it," said Rosemary Krcywcki of Center City.

"If you feel obligated to jump the train then you have to take the consequence that follows," said Nysir Bouodin of North Philadelphia.

Nestel says the other part of the new initiative created in coordination with the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, is to track repeat offenders to find them help through social services if necessary.
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