We live close to a light rail stop and I've started to use it a lot lately, particularly to get to events at 1st Mariner Arena. I'm happy to say, it's been great, convenient, very quick, and efficient. But it's got me wondering: Does anyone (but me) pay to ride?
Each time I go to the station, I dutifully go to the kiosk, buy a ticket, and hold it as I get on the train, ride, and get off the train. No one has ever checked that I have a ticket nor does there seem to be any mechanism to do so. Someone said they've heard the MTA does random checks, but no one I've spoken with has ever seen that happen. I'm starting to feel like a dupe for plugging my money into those machines.
I have seen other people buying tickets at the kiosks, but I also often see people just walk up and get on the train. What's to stop them? (In fairness, they might have weekly/monthly passes or earlier-purchased tickets.) I get the sense that many people avoid taking the light rail because of safety fears (though I have never felt unsafe, even with my toddler). It would seem the MTA could quell those fears—and increase revenue to boot—by installing some type of mechanism to make sure people pay to ride.
[photo courtesy of Gavin St. Ours]