Tacos can’t save DC’s Metro

Chinatown Metro station. Washington D.C., Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011
Chinatown Metro station. Washington D.C., Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011 Graeme Jennings/Graeme Jennings

Tacos can’t save DC’s Metro

It’s the great crime crackdown that never was.

For the entire month of October, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority blanketed stations and trains with advertisements warning or promising that come November, Metro Transit Police would start issuing $50 citations to people who skip paying fares at the turnstiles.

Thanks to the Democrats who control the Council of the District of Columbia, it is not a criminal offense to evade paying fares on the Metro. At most, Metro Transit Police can issue you a $50 fine.

The posters promised: “If you don’t pay your fare, Metro Transit Police could issue you a fine.” Possible fines listed included $50 for offenses in Washington and $100 for offenses in Maryland and Virginia. But two months into the supposed crackdown, a local television station reported that a grand total of two citations had been issued for fare evasion in all of Washington, D.C. “There are certain stations where I’ve never seen any police,” commuter Rick Brown told reporters.

The absence of police appears to be by design. Despite all of its promises to start imposing consequences on those who break the law, it turns out that Metro never had the stomach for it. “We do not want to have a police confrontation over a couple of dollars,” Metro CEO Randy Clark said. “I don’t think anyone wants to see that.”

Well, no Democrats do, at least.

Rather than stopping people from breaking the law, Metro has instead decided to make it physically more difficult for people to jump turnstiles in the first place. At first, it installed “anti-vaulting arches,” which are just clear plastic semi-circles attached to the top of each turnstile. Commuters quickly dubbed these “tacos,” as that’s what they looked like. They were also completely ineffective.

Now Metro is testing out larger “saloon doors,” which are much taller plastic doors designed to swing open and then close after commuters pay their fare. The hope is that the plastic doors are so high that no one will be able to jump over them.

Metro plans to spend $40 million installing these new doors at just 10 stations in the district.

Guess how much Metro estimates it lost in fare evasions last year? $40 million.

Democrats will do absolutely anything to avoid imposing consequences on lawbreakers, even if it means spending more on theft prevention than what is actually lost in theft.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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