Metro Wants to Use Private Security Firms to Make Sure You Pay for Your Light-Rail Ride

Metro is making noises about hiring private security as fare enforcers on the light rail.

Right now state law bars that, but Metro says Phoenix does it, so why can't they?

"Adding civilian fare inspectors could not only increase fare inspections but also permit better utilization of law enforcement resources with additional safety and security personnel," Metro police chief Victor Rodriguez says in the agency's blog. "As the METRO rail lines expand in the coming years, we will certainly explore all avenues to effectively and efficiently provide for the safety and security of those lines. A hybrid approach using both police officers and private security is worth a look."

Metro would need to pass a bill through the state legislature allowing them to do so, something which won't happen until 2013 unless a special session is called.

Currently, anyone caught not paying the fare on the light rail gets a $75 fine, but it's a civil matter. If the fine is not paid on time, it moves on to Houston municipal court and becomes a criminal case.

So fare-jumpers should begin making alternative plans: The rent-a-cops are coming, we're sure.

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