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MTA Conducting Sweeps On Light Rail To Catch Fare-Skippers

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Thousands of dollars lost every year from people who ride the Light Rail without paying. Now the Maryland Transit Administration is cracking down.

Meghan McCorkell explains what they're doing.

This week, MTA Police are conducting sweeps on trains to try and catch fare-skippers.

Thousands have tickets to get into the O's games at Camden Yards, but just how many bought a ticket to get there?

"It really is hard to keep track of who's doing what when they're doing it," one man said.

That's why MTA Police are cracking down this week, checking people's Light Rail tickets as they get off the trains.

"When you go to a game, you're supposed to pay to get on the train," one man said.

Riders are required to buy a ticket from a kiosk before boarding the train.

"It's an honor system, but we want to let people know--we trust, but verify," said MTA Administrator Paul Comfort.

Comfort says while they've stepped up this week, MTA is always checking for fare-skippers.

"There's police officers and fare enforcement officers on every train all day long. They're on all the trains," he said.

A fare violation can result in a $50 to $500 fine.

In 2014, MTA Police checked 1.9 million riders. Officers issued about 2,400 citations for fare evasion.

It's only just over two percent of riders, but still translates to thousands of dollars.

"If they don't pay, they're going to stop the service. So everybody will be at fault. Nobody will get the benefit of it," said one woman.

"It's a big deal. I mean, it helps fund the city. It helps everybody, really. I think we should strive and really crack down on it," said Chauncey Rollings.

That's why officers are out in full force, making sure people pay before they see the Orioles play.

Nearly 400,000 ride the Light Rail every day.

MTA officials say 74 percent of riders use multi-fare or flash passes when riding Light Rail.

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