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Metra To Watch Conductors After Fares Reportedly Go Uncollected

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Stung by complaints that some of its conductors are less than aggressive about collecting fares, Metra is planning spot checks to make sure conductors are doing their jobs.

Metra chief executive officer Alex Clifford said he intends to use undercover riders to check on conductors.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's Bob Roberts reports

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Metra officials hear such complaints periodically. Clifford said that only a few conductors have an excuse.

"You can have a train that it so crowded that a conductor cannot just work his or her way through the train," he said. "In crowded situations where the conductor can move through the train, the conductors needs to do his or her job and collect those fares."

Some conductors stay on certain runs for years, and know which of their riders are regulars who use monthly tickets. Clifford said such riders may not be checked as closely under such circumstances.

McHenry County Metra Board member Jack Shaffer said that in his experience, most Metra conductors who see riders trying to avoid paying work doubly hard to track them down.
"I've seen our guys go after them like bulldogs," Shaffer said.

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