Mike Liberi, chief officer of buses and trolleys for SEPTA, was adamant: "There are no free rides."
In response to a Metro story that quoted an internal memo informing employees of a tweaked policy on fare collection, officials operators were not instructed to give free trips.
"Everyone is expected to pay," Liberi said.
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An updated memo, which was given out to employees a few weeks back, reads “Employees are required to 'check and request' a fare of all passengers. Passengers unable or unwilling to pay the fare shall be permitted to ride.”
It tells drivers to document the time and date of the missed fare, but to avoid possible altercations between drivers and riders.
"The whole idea of the memo was to avoid confrontation," said Francis E. Kelly, SEPTA's assistant general manager.
SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams said this is not a fare policy change—that requires a public hearing—but a customer service rule changed "to decrease incidents of assaults on operators stemming from fare disputes."