TriMet announced on Monday they will be introducing even more fare inspectors to their routes—apparently because YOU are getting upset about people who are jumping on the train or bus for free? Let's go to TriMet's press release for more on this highly dubious claim:

You walk up to the MAX station and tap your Hop card on the card reader. When the train comes, you step on board to get to work, school or wherever it is you need to go. At the same time, you see others hopping on board without tapping, without stopping at the ticket machine. You wonder, “Are they paying for the ride?” If you’re paying your fair share, shouldn’t they? Right about that time, wouldn’t it be nice to see a Fare Inspector get on the train? TriMet is increasing the ranks of our fare enforcement teams with the addition of nine new Fare Inspectors.


If your BS detector is sounding off over this very questionable claim, you're not the only one. Because here's the thing: TriMet (who's celebrating its 50th anniversary this year) was originally founded as an antidote to privately held, profit-focused transportation companies who were gouging riders, especially those who were financially disadvantaged. From our Blair Stenvick's article, "TriMet Was Created 50 Years Ago Today, in an Effort to Avoid Fare Increases":

With its vote of approval, City Council made clear that TriMet was created to solve the problems caused by fare increases, which include a decrease in ridership, a reliance on cars and car infrastructure, and an increased hardship for people who—whether by default or by choice—rely on public transit as their main form of transportation.

By adding more fare inspectors, TriMet is exerting their own brand of punitive justice and effectively criminalizing the poor, which goes directly against their original mission statement. And justifying their actions by making claims that it's somehow "what their riders want" is intellectually dishonest.

But okay: Let's pretend for a second that you're supposedly one of those people who are infuriated when you see someone jumping onboard without paying their fare. Were you watching this person the entire time they were on the platform or at the stop? (That's creepy.) Is it possible you didn't notice them using their HOP card? Maybe they forgot. Maybe they are in an impossible situation that resulted out of no fault of their own. Maybe you're just one medical bill away from being in this same position. And most importantly, maybe it's none of your goddamn business.

There's a rising movement for free public transit—a move that could relieve clogged roads and highways, help potentially houseless people keep their jobs, and permanently remove your supposed aggravation with fare jumpers. Sure, nine fare enforcement officers would lose their jobs, but it seems like TriMet could probably use the help elsewhere.

Here are some tweets from other smart people who are concerned with TriMet's reasoning: