Get your $2 (and spiteful nickle) ready: TriMet announced today that it will hire six new fare inspectors. And, says TriMet, their work will move away from a warning and education focus to issuing citations.

Citations for fare jumping on TriMet have spiraled downward for a couple years now, as this nifty graph Portland Afoot put together illustrates:

The six new jobs will bring the total number of fare inspectors on the system to only 13—that's still a drop from the 24 who were employed in 2010. And fare inspectors don't cover their own costs. Their salaries are $67,000, but check out Portland Afoot's research on how much they bring in:

TriMet collected only $179,000 in fiscal year 2010 from tickets and court fees, despite issuing 6,469 fare citations, according to spokeswoman Bekki Witt. If TriMet had collected $91.40 on each of those citations, its revenue from fare enforcement alone would have been $591,000.

A standard citation for fare jumping is $175, but in the past, inspectors have tended to issue warnings or exclusions much more frequently than citations.