[URBAN NOTE] “TTC to use undercover officers to catch fare cheats”
The Toronto Star</i's Ben Spurr reports on the TTC’s use of fare inspectors to catch fare cheats.
You never know who you’re going to sit next to on the TTC. But as of this week, your seatmate could be an undercover transit officer watching to make sure you’ve paid your fare.
In an effort to push down fare evasion rates, the TTC has given the green light to a plan to use plainclothes special constables to help nab fare cheats on streetcars.
Chief Special Const. Mark Cousins, head of the TTC’s transit enforcement unit, said in an interview the covert enforcement officers won’t be engaged in “undercover drug takedown stuff,” but will be there to point out people who haven’t paid to the TTC’s uniformed fare inspectors. The inspectors will still be responsible for writing tickets.
Cousins wouldn’t say how many undercover constables will be deployed, or when they’ll start. “As a riding customer I’d just assume that they’re out there right now. So continue to pay your fares, and we’ll go from there,” he said.
According to a report that went before the TTC board on Tuesday, the streetcar network had a fare evasion rate of about 2.7 per cent during the first six months of 2016. That’s above the industry standard of 2 per cent.