Capital Metro regularly checks passes to ensure fair payment for its bus and rail services. Your tax dollars help provide transportation for Austin’s region, so when it comes down to riding, everyone should respect the law and pay their fare. When a person rides without a valid fare, it’s considered a “failure to pay public transportation” under Texas Transportation code section 451.0611 or a “Theft of Services,” a Class C Misdemeanor.
We’ve always had a fare evasion policy; we’ve just made some changes recently. The new policy, which went into effect Jan. 10, is more flexible and costs less, and unless the citation is not paid, helps keep a Class C Misdemeanor off your record. Many of our peer agencies have similar fare policies, including the DART system in Dallas.
How is the new policy different? Check out the infographic to see a comparison between our old system and new policy.
Under the old policy, an Austin Police Department officer would issue the citation as a “failure to pay public transportation,” and the cited rider would go to the City of Austin Municipal Court and face a fine up to $500. The violation would also go on the person’s record.
Under the new policy, a Capital Metro fare inspector issues the citation. The new administrative fine is $75 dollars, payable to Capital Metro within 30 days. The citation can be paid online, by mail or at the Transit Store.* The cited rider is not charged with a misdemeanor now and does not have to appear in court if the administrative fine is paid within the 30 days. Beyond 30 days, however, the person must appear in Municipal Court and a larger fine may be imposed. If the citation is disputed or appealed, the cited rider would have to appear in municipal court on the date listed on the citation.
Our goal is to make sure everyone is using the system fairly, so be sure and have your fare handy in case a fare inspector asks for it.
You either pay the fare or face the fine!
* Visit capmetro.org/rules for more information about the acceptable forms of payment.