SEPTA changes policy on fare collection, free rides

SEPTA bus peppered by bullets in West Philadelphia.

Good news: If you can’t pay the fare on SEPTA buses or trollys, operators will let you ride for free.

But don’t expect to abuse the courtesy, SEPTA said.

A memo obtained by Metro that was sent to SEPTA employees two weeks ago, instructed operators not to question fares.

“Passengers unable or unwilling to pay the fare shall be permitted to ride,” the letter read. “Employees must document the non-payment of fare.”

The old policy said employees “must attempt to collect or examine the required fare,” and if not, collect the name and address of the passenger. If no fare, address or name is submitted, the passenger was not entitled to ride.

The drivers, however, were instructed to avoid confrontation.

The new rule, which tells drivers to document the time and date of the missed fare, is meant to cut down on operator assaults, SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams said.

About 8 operators were physically assaulted from Jan. 2 to April 3, stats show.

A SEPTA employee said free rides were an unwritten rule. “But now it’s in writing.”

Williams said they’ll fight those trying to “get one over on SEPTA.”

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