MARTA arrested 538 fare evaders during a recent six-week effort, according to an announcement from the transit system.

In 2017, the MARTA Police Department (MPD) developed a Fare Evasion Task Force dedicated to reducing fare evasion throughout the system. “Our fare evasion task force has worked around the clock to focus our attention to those seeking to avoid paying fare at our stations,” said MPD Chief Wanda Dunham. “We have watched riders piggyback behind a person when the fare gates open and some even attempt to go over or under the gates.”

Over the last six weeks, plainclothes officers have actively monitored fare gates across MARTA’s 38 rail stations. To date, the effort has led to hundreds of arrests and suspensions from the MARTA system.

“We take fare evasion extremely seriously and will continue to work to ensure the safety and security for all of our customers,” said MARTA General Manager/CEO Keith Parker. “Every year, transit authorities across the nation lose millions of dollars in revenue due to fare evaders. We are actively working to curb this behavior through the efforts of our Fare Evasion Task Force.”

Individuals arrested for fare evasion automatically receive a 60-day suspension from using MARTA’s bus and rail services. If a fare evader is arrested and fails to produce valid identification, then the suspect is lodged in jail.

“Our officers’ ability to blend in with other customers while monitoring activity at the fare gates has been essential in quickly apprehending individuals looking to circumvent the payment system,” said Dunham. “We encourage all of our customers to be on the lookout for any inappropriate activity and download MARTA’s See Something, Say Something mobile app or call MPD at (404) 848-4911 to report any suspicious or criminal behavior.”

The fare evasion effort is a part of MARTA’s Ride with Respect initiative which focuses on passenger safety and the transit agency’s customer code of conduct.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

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