Thanks to all the hard work of the Don’t Criminalize Transit Riders Campaign over this past year, the Port Authority has walked back their initial proposal of having armed police check fare payment on the T!
Over the last year, we’ve had dozens of people testify at the Port Authority, more than 30 organizations and neighborhood groups sign onto a letter opposing criminalization of transit riders. The Pittsburgh School Board sent a separate letter talking about the impact to youth. We had hundreds of postcards that we delivered to Rep Dom Costa’s office and thousands of petition signatures. We had lots of immigrant transit riders say that they would no longer take the T, because it would become an immigration checkpoint rather than a safe and effective way for them to live their lives.
Going forward, there will continue to be work to do around this issue, because the severe criminal consequences for fare evasion remain in place, even if they are rarely enacted. Our coalition will continue to push the Port Authority to ensure that riders and drivers are at the table to advocate for changing the laws on the books to create a more humane civil fare enforcement policy in the future.