I've mentioned before that I had a passenger hop on the bus without paying and he got a ticket right then and there...
I need to practice my script/response for when I'm asked if a passenger can ride without paying a fare:
"I'm sorry [Ma'am/Sir] but I'm not authorized to give away free rides. The fare is $X.XX. If you chose to ride without paying that fare, you ride at your own risk."
This isn't a free license for folks not to pay, trust me - the buses and trains are filling up with undercover and uniformed officers.
I know we've all been noticing the increased presence.
But even if there wasn't as many officers, that's still not me saying it's a free for all, get on the bus, Gus.
Let's look at it this way:
You're getting on the front of the bus.
You and I are now center stage for everybody sitting down and waiting to get on with their rides.
The cameras & mics all over the bus are on and recording.
Now you look at me, give me a story and ask me to give you a free ride.
What you're asking me is to participate in your crime by allowing you to come on board without having paid and break the law.
You're saying to me, "Hey bud, you don't know me but I want you to risk your career for me because [insert reason given]"
And forget me for a second, you're standing in front of 60 other passengers who just forked over their own hard earned cash for a ride to/from work and they hear me say, "Sure, come ride for free."
Now they're wondering why they just paid for their rides and why the frick you're so special to be exempt from having to participate as well.
They're figuring all they had to do was break the law and they'd have been rewarded with a free ride like you.
I've had the rare occassion when a regular has forgotten his pass or not had the change.
They are regulars and I know that they have passes (I see them daily) and/or the regular who normally pays in cash pays double the next day. One just did that this afternoon as a matter of fact.
These are rare and special occassions, I can justify this to an officer and/or RTD when brought in front of my supervisors.
Please don't think I'm justifying any Driver being a jerk.
We don't know whether your grandmother, dog, sister, or car actually just died.
We don't know whether you just got out of jail, the hospital, or your ex's place and have no cash on you.
We don't know if you're telling the truth and if you are, our prayers are with you.
I need to give you the disclaimer.
If you chose to ride without paying, then whether your reasons justify your free ride is between you and the courts.
I have to press a button (record a "no fare") and write up when passengers ride without paying.
Then it's out of my hands and control.
While I love all the creative excuses I'm offered, please just pay the fare.
It's only $2 (Local) and with that $2 I can give you a transfer.
Reach into your pocket, grab your pass or cash...
Pay your fare...and as always, "Welcome aboard, find your seats - Let's Roll!"