After entering the rear of a B Line trolley at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, a 26-year-old woman flashed her CharlieCard and filled an empty seat when she was abruptly confronted by a plainclothes transit officer.
T inspector Richard Austin scanned her card on his handheld device to reveal it wasn’t a monthly pass.
Like roughly 2,605 riders before her this year, the woman was cited for fare evasion.
“Of course this is the month I don’t have a monthly pass,” she said. “It’s good to see that it’s enforced. It’s only fair.”
More than the $15 fine, the embarrassment of being called out is what prevents most fare evaders from chancing a $100 fine for repeat offenders.
“It does help,” Sgt. Kirk Donovan said of the T’s current crackdown. “We write one ticket and 20 other people see. We try not to be loud or embarrass people.”
Monthly passes were color coded before the advent of the CharlieCard. Now riders flash everything from driver’s licenses to credit cards in the back of trolleys, which can’t always be policed.
“That would be way too much manpower,” Austin said.
Another woman who received one of six tickets handed out by Donovan’s crew on Wednesday morning looked like a spotlight was being shined on her.
“I was late for work, I was going two stops,” she said sheepishly. “That’s no excuse. I should’ve paid. They are starting to crack down.”