Charlotte’s Lynx Blue Line –‘expensive honor system’

Charlotte Observer reviews the data on Charlotte Area Transit System’s “proof of payment” system for Lynx Blue Line riders. Guess what —there pretty much isn’t one:

The Lynx Blue Line is perhaps the city’s biggest – and most expensive – use of the honor system.

The transit system lets people board without checking for a ticket, and fare inspectors make periodic ticket checks and write $50 citations for scofflaws.

But a review of data shows that few people are nabbed by inspectors, and the $50 fine is among the lowest of the nation’s “proof of payment” light-rail systems. Last year, fare inspectors issued 545 citations. Of those, a judge upheld the $50 fine for 368 cases.

….Tom Stack has commuted on the Lynx daily from the New Bern station to uptown for a year.

“I can definitively say that no one has ever asked for my ticket,” said Stack, who uses a cellphone app to buy tickets.

When he first started riding a year ago, he said more people were talking about having their tickets checked.

“But it feels like you don’t hear about it much anymore,” Stack said.

This normally might upset taxpayers, but –going out on a limb here—most realize that rider fares do almost nothing to alleviate the cost of light rail.

Sam Hieb / Contributing Editor

Sam Hieb is freelance journalist from Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a contributing editor for Carolina Journal and for Piedmont Publius, a blog that focuses on political a...

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