Light-rail riders, beware. The cops are out to getcha.
Since early this morning, Metro police and light-rail employees have been stationed at each stop along the route checking to make sure everyone has a ticket and is not abusing the city's well-loved, though probably often abused, honor system.
In a perfect world, a rider is supposed to buy a ticket from a machine located on one of the platforms or tap their prepaid electronic card on the machine before getting on. It is, however, oh so easy to skip this step and just hop on for a free ride along Main Street.
But not today.
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One light-rail worker on patrol told Hair Balls that the reason for the one-day-only blitz was because the number of riders far exceeds the number of tickets paid for and the agency wants to see how large a problem train-hoppers are.
Most of the inspectors were acting friendly, reminding folks to buy their ticket before getting aboard. But they were right there waiting when you got off to examine that freshly purchased pass.
Light-rail spokeswoman Carolina Mendoza says that today's operation is only for data collection purposes and that officers are not issuing citations but are there to remind people the need to pay to ride.
"We haven't caught too many today," said one inspector, "but I sure have seen a lot more people walking on the sidewalks than usual."