King County Council member Dave Upthegrove said he was shocked to learn that youth can be charged with misdemeanors for evading bus fares. The charge could also lead to longterm bans from riding the bus. This week, the Council adopted a motion to reduce the penalty to a civil infraction.
“Young bus riders should be held accountable for evading a fare but not charged criminally, and I am pleased that the Council supported me in changing this policy,” Upthegrove said.
The motion also calls on the county to allow cited transit riders to resolve their infractions at courthouses closer to where they live. Currently, all transit infraction hearings are held at the Shoreline Courthouse in a policy known as the “Shoreline rule.” It’s particularly a problem for younger riders, who are most frequently cited in South King County.
Issuing a longterm bus suspension for a juvenile
must may also be limited to court orders under Upthegrove’s bill. The motion calls for the county to work towards implementing the policies by March. Unfortunately, adult offenders will still have to settle such matters in Shoreline.
The motion also calls on the county to ensure all transit security officers receive specific training to work with adolescents.