All-door Boarding and Fare Evasion

Jarrett Walker has a post over on Human Transit about all-door boarding being added to buses in San Francisco.

He makes the point that the perception of fare evasion is often much worse than the reality. I’ve experienced that many times over the years in discussions of streetcar fare policy.

The honor system means that you can’t tell if someone has a fare instrument in their pocket, which seems to lead many to the impression that everyone but them is cheating!

In fact, we know that about half our riders have some kind of pass, and a significant number of the balance have a transfer. But it often seems that folks would be happy to have a fare inspection program that could easily cost more than any additional revenue it could generate through fare revenue or fines.

Why kind of marketing or education effort would allow us to prioritize actual budget realities (and faster service) over a perception of fairness to allow all-door boarding on TriMet’s buses?

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