Interesting profile of Michael Claus, the new commander of the Sheriff’s Department unit that patrols Metro buses, trains and facilities under an annual contract. Both Claus and Metro officials say the system is safe despite the recent murder on the Red Line, but perhaps the most intriguing part of the article concerns fare evasion:
Both Claus and Metro’s Martin are seeking to improve fare enforcement, a major priority for the agency. Currently, deputies are responsible for making sure that people pay their fares and for issuing citations to violators. But Claus believes that sworn deputies’ skills are better used elsewhere.
“From what I’ve seen so far, I think it’s a waste of a resource for a deputy sheriff to check TAP cards,” Claus said. “Deputy sheriffs should be performing law enforcement functions, not revenue functions.” He added that it’s tough to recruit good people because trained police don’t want to spend their days checking cards.
Claus envisions using Metro employees and security assistants to check fares instead, while deputies patrol for safety—a quick call away if a conflict arises. Martin agrees. “When they are on a train and they have both hands checking tickets, they aren’t looking for quality of life issues,” Martin said. With each sworn deputy costing the agency about $210,000 per year and civilian employees costing about a quarter of that amount, “you want to get the best bang for your buck.”
First time I’ve heard this discussion publicly. I’m not really sure personally I care who does fare enforcement — like many others I just want to see it done well and thoroughly. If you subscribe to the broken windows theory of law enforcement, you probably also believe that cracking down on fare evasion also would help prevent other types of crime.
The train in Sheffield in the United Kingdom can run on both commuter rail tracks and then switch to light rail tracks to take people into and out of the city core. The big benefit: it eliminates the need to transfer between light rail and commuter rail.
Sochi by rail seemed like a good idea (Toronto Star)
A first person account of the 26-hour journey by ‘express’ train between Moscow and Sochi. The express train cut four hours off the previous 30-hour trip! One fun tidbit: it cost $32 U.S. to have a porter carry a couple of suitcases from the station to the train platform but not actually on the train.
If you haven’t seen the @SochiProblems Twitter feed yet, it’s worth checking out with the usual caveat it’s heavy on bathroom humor and some adult language. And if you haven’t yet read the New York Times’ story on the poisoning of stray dogs in Sochi by local authorities and a billionaires’ attempt to save them, here’s the link.
I love the Olympics, but I’m not sure I understand the craziness of having cities around the world spend billions to host them and then later find they can’t really afford them. I tend to think it would be better to rotate the Games between cities that already have infrastructure in place and perhaps occasionally add a new city. This is one reason I’d love to see Los Angeles host a future Olympics; a lot of the facilities are already here.
Categories: Transportation Headlines