You know how—even though fare inspectors sometimes show up on trains—actually buying a MAX ticket can sometimes leave you feeling like the punchline of an awful joke? Because it feels like no one else does? And they usually get away with it?
This Oregonian post by Joseph Rose might be of some interest. According to the story, plainclothes cops have already begun lurking on trains in hopes of surprising, and arresting, fare evaders. Their presence is in addition to the inspectors who've already been boarding here and there and conducting fare missions (and spawning widespread alerts on Twitter whenever they do).
During Thursday morning's commute, six officers dressed as every day urban professionals boarded trains through different doors and took their seats.
After several minutes of riding and watching for people causing problems, the officers stood up between stations, showed their badges and told riders to pull out their fares.
In one case, a man darted for the door as soon as the train pulled into the next stop.
"Our guys grabbed him," [Transit Police Commander Mike] Crebs said. "He had a history and an existing exclusion. We arrested him for theft of services and trespassing."
TriMet and the transit cops spent some time studying other cities, according to the story, before going in whole hog here. Expect to see patrols happening more and more.
"We want people to always wonder if there might be a police officer on the train," spokeswoman Roberta Alstadt told the O. "This isn't just about fare evasion. It's about security."
TriMet says it's also considering adding the detail to buses—even though, in my estimation, that may not be worth the trouble. Most bus drivers already act as pretty firm gate-keepers. But I guess beware?