Study: No 'systemic racial bias' in TriMet fare enforcement - KPTV - FOX 12

Study: No 'systemic racial bias' in TriMet fare enforcement

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A new study found no evidence of "systemic racial bias" in TriMet fare enforcement practices, according to the agency.

TriMet reported Wednesday that the independent, third-party study was the result of community concerns regarding "uneven" fare enforcement actions based on race and ethnicities.

TriMet called it the "most in-depth evaluation ever of our fare enforcement practices."

The study found an overall 14.5 percent fare evasion rate, which includes riders without fare, expired transfers or inappropriate fare.

The report featured three key conclusions.

  • No systemic bias. “Conclusion 1: Differences between the fare evasion survey results and enforcement outcomes are small and indicate little disparity. Thus, it does not appear TriMet fare enforcement on the MAX is systemically biased towards certain races and ethnicities; however the elevated percentage of African American riders being excluded should be examined more closely.”
  • Repeat violators pose challenge. “Conclusion 2: Repeat violations (i.e. getting caught without fare/improper fare more than once in the two years of data) comprise 25.5% of all enforcement incidents and 36% of African American incidents. This percentage appears high and represents a unique challenge for TriMet fare enforcement.”
  • Continued assessment. “Conclusion 3: Although there were two positive significant relationships in the adult analysis, the size of the relationship and difference between significance and insignificance was relatively small enough that the results are unlikely based on a systemic bias in TriMet fare enforcement, future studies should continue to assess these relationships.”

TriMet officials said they will review practices by other transit systems across the country and pursue new possible enforcement initiatives, including a reduced fine for first-time violators prior to a citation being forwarded to the court, a community service option in lieu of payment and the feasibility of a regional low income fare program.

TriMet will also review staffing levels and increased training for workers who conduct enforcement in areas including de-escalation practices and mental health issues.

To view the full report, go to trimet.org.

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