I get a lot of phone calls from CTA bus drivers, and the most common complaint I get is that people won't pay when they get on the bus. They're not just talking about free-riding seniors, but people who claim to be active military personnel who won't show their IDs, and students who don't want to show, or don't have, their student IDs. The drivers complain that if they make a fuss about demanding fares, the rider, and often other riders, complain and it gets the driver into trouble. Apparently, the phenomenon of people not paying doesn't just happen at bus stops, as reported here.
I asked CTA spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney about CTA policy for bus drivers who don't get fares. "They're supposed to ask the person to pay nicely, and if they refuse they're supposed to notify the control center but continue in service, and the control center can make a determination with the supervisor what the next steps will be," Gaffney said.
I also asked Gaffney about the problem reported on the Brown Line. She said the CTA is looking at what it's options are to keep people from entering through the exit doors, without paying their fares.
Most bus drivers I talked to say they've given up complaining about people who don't show proper IDs for free or student fares, because it's not worth the hassle. But one long-time driver gave me a contrary view -- he said that he's kicked hundreds of kids off his buses for not paying. He won't be pushed around.
So what do you think, CTA riders? Have you seen people skip the fare, either on the bus or on the train? Do you say something? Does the driver ever say anything? And by the way, has anyone ever told these kids that just because you CAN get away with not paying for something, that doesn't mean you should?