I was going to title this post: Trying to reduce our carbon footprint earned us a $75 fine. But that just took up too much space, as did: How conserving gas by riding public transport cost us more than 3 tankfuls of gas.
But first, some background information.
Last night, we attended a Dallas Stars game (#11 on the 101 list!). However, I was already downtown for an afternoon meeting. Because we believe in conserving gasoline (for the budget and the environment), we often carpool.
Question: How do you get one person downtown when the other person with the car is already downtown?
Answer: Take public transport.
The Boy walked to the closest DART station to make the trip to the arena. However....
It can be really confusing to determine which ticket you need to purchase. Unless you are a frequent rider, you have a limited amount of time to figure out which fare applies to you, based on your age, route, time of day, etc.
Simply stated - it's easy to make a mistake.
And make a mistake, The Boy did. He purchased a reduced single ride fare rather than a local single ride fare. Fee difference: 90 cents.
Then the unthinkable happened: he was part of a random ticket check on the train.
You see, DART isn't structured like most rail systems that we've ridden around the US and the world - there's not a ticket check before you board. In theory, it is possible to ride all day on DART without a ticket...unless you happen to be part of a random ticket check.
So The Boy was ticket checked and found lacking.
He discussed his confusion with the DART police officer who responded: The fare structure is very clear. You have no excuse.
He responded: But if I wanted to cheat DART, wouldn't I have not purchased a ticket at all? It's not logical that I would try to cheat by just 90 cents.
Logic apparently wasn't an option. Nor was asking him to get off the train and purchase a correct ticket at the next stop.
No - DART police wrote him a ticket for $75. A $75 ticket for a 90 cent error.
A ticket that will cost us $500 if we don't pay, plus the opportunity to have a warrant issued.
In my opinion, the handling of this situation is a Major Fail for DART. I understand the need to catch those cheating the system - those who take advantage of a poorly designed ticket control process.
But to punish someone who makes a mistake? An average Joe-Blow-Tax-Paying-Rider trying to get downtown for a game? Fail.
To be aggressively confrontational when discussing a ticket situation with said individual? Fail.
We have long been advocates of the need for expanded DART services in the metro area - committing our votes and tax dollars to the issue. These types of situations don't endear the system to us.
And I can only hope that visitors to our city aren't treated as poorly as The Boy was.
It almost ruined our enjoyment of this: