On my way to work this morning, Metro Vancouver Transit Police officers interrupted my bus ride with a fare check.
Luckily, I had my monthly pass on me, and no one on the bus received a $173 ticket for an unpaid fare. Naturally, I tweeted about the fare check after the bus got rolling again.
A few hours later, I received a couple of direct messages from Const. Graham Walker, whose Twitter profile identifies him as a community relations and patrol officer with the transit police. As you can see, Walker took issue with my tweet:
Hi Stephen. Not sure why you would want to tell people where we are checking fares. First off, it's not okay to ride for free, we all 1/2
2/2 know about funding, etc. Plus, we remove hundreds of criminals from the system each year after finding them without fare.
Clearly, Walker was attempting to impress upon me the importance of not publicizing the locations of fare checks. However, I'm not convinced.
Ostensibly, the reason for fare checks is more about making people pay—whether or not they can afford it—before getting on transit than it is about punishing those who don't (and are demonized as "fare evaders").
And what's the worst that could happen after tweeting about a fare check? Someone might buy a fare.
So, from now on, I'll be tweeting about every fare check I encounter on the TransLink system.