Word of the day: derivation. It’s a technical term used by RTA officials to describe what the urban dictionary refers to as “gate jumping” — the practice of using the bus or train without paying to do so.
RTA leaders started using off-duty cops to check for fare crooks when the Euclid Corridor project finished last fall. They’ve nabbed an average of 250 people a month since. They expect that figure to double in the next month when they unleash their fare guards on the city’s Rapid train line that spans the city.
But as one hand taketh, the other giveth back. RTA is asking Council to allow their officers to issue first-time offenders citations that would allow them to pay their $150 fine and $120 in court costs without having to appear in Cleveland Municipal Court — a dynamic that right now only serves to further muddy the dockets with seemingly victimless criminals.
“Having this waiverable is important because we really don’t want to clog up the courts,” said Transit Police Chief John Joyce. But we do want their money.
RTA’s general counsel, Sheryl King Benford. insists: “We’re interested in deterring this behavior. We’re providing a public service and you should pay your fare like everybody else.” — Dan Harkins
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at [email protected].
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.