Tell Sound Transit: The community has spoken on fare enforcement

Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times (link in text)

There's good news and bad news:

After over two years of community pressure to decriminalize fare nonpayment, and this year's uprisings against racial oppression and for Black lives, Sound Transit has committed to a year-long "fare enforcement ambassador" pilot program in 2021. This pilot will focus on education and connecting riders with ORCA Lift or other fare programs, rather than citations or fines. Sound Transit plans to design a new approach to fare nonpayment to go into effect after the pilot. This is progress!

However, on Thursday, Dec. 10, the Sound Transit's Executive Committee failed to commit to removing any future fare enforcement program entirely from the court system. Even worse, some members claimed they hadn't heard from the community on this issue.

Please join us in sending a strong message to Sound Transit leadership and board members that fare nonpayment should never lead to involvement with policing and courts. Court-issued fines, debt collection and criminal charges trap marginalized communities in cycles of poverty and lead to unnecessary stress and harm, as well as costs to taxpayers. We are also reminding them that they have been hearing from the community on this issue for over two years, and asking why they haven't yet introduced live public comment at virtual meetings if they want to badly to hear from us.

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