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anti-racism | bikes/transportation

MAX Fare Inspectors are Racist/Classist

As a MAX rider, I have noted that there is a different set of rules for wealthy whites than for the poor and ethnic.
Yesterday, riding the MAX Blue Line to Hillsboro, a fare inspector got on. As usual, this was after the Millikan Way stop. (I'll get to that later) I was sitting in the rear section of the rear car. Two seats in front of me, there was a rider without proof of payment.

When asked where his fare was, the rider said that he had a yearly pass. However, he had left his wallet at home, and so did not have it on his person. The rider then gave his name, Tom Wolf, as if the inspector could verify this. The inspector then asked where the rider worked. The rider said that he worked over at the Merlo. "Well, I guess I'll see you tomorrow then," said the inspector. The inspector departed the train, and that was that.

Regular MAX riders should be floored by this exchange. Typically, the rider in question would have been described to some dispatcher by the inspector: stated name and physical description. At the next stop, the rider would be asked to step off and issued a warning or fine. Then, would have to purchase a ticket to get on the next train.

The difference here, Mr. Wolf is a white, middle-aged business man.

One of the unwritten rules of the West-Side MAX is that if the ratio of Latinos to Whites weighs in favor of Latinos, then there will be a fare inspection. If the weather is could, and a shabbily dressed person is sleeping on the MAX, then there will be a fare inspection. If there is "unruly" behavior by young people, then there will be a fare inspection.

If there is an unruly crowd on their way to see a professional sports event, then the fare inspectors will smile as that train rides by. Wealthy people got to those events, and Tri-Met would not want to anger one of them by putting them through the process of fare inspection.

These are things that I have witnessed as one rider in the past year. Surely more goes on. Is anyone else compiling data so we can do something about it?

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Yes, Portland is watching. 16.Feb.2005 15:45

MD

I was a part of a Class Action Lawsuit regarding Tri-Met and their unconstitutional code. Last I checked, they are not giving out exclusions because our lawsuit found them unconstitutional. Tri-met knew they were unconstitutional and withdrew this part of the code before we got to court. There is many parts of their code that is unconstitutional, but if no one challenges them then it's business as usual. I'm debating furthering my part of the Lawsuit.

I got a ticket once for non-fare... 16.Feb.2005 16:22

Gus

I don't ride the MAX often enough to really be able say one way or the other if what you say is true all of the time, but I must say that it does seem consistant with what I have observed on various occasions. The MAX cops do seem to have a list of undesirables that they target.

One time I saw them wake up a (possibly) houseless guy and ask him if he had a ticket. He quickley produced an all day pass. They confered amongst each other for a bit, and finally settled on telling the dude that even though he'd payed the required fare, TRIMET didn't appreciate him using their facilities as a bedroom. He countered with the fact that since he had paid the fucking fare, he would fucking ride the train all day long if he damn well fucking wanted, and if he happened to doze off, well, too fucking bad for them, and to leave him the fuck alone. Which,eventually, they did.

I've also witnessed TRIMET guys working a crowd for tickets and joking and chatting amicabley with a white women and her children while she searched her bags for her transfer, and then one minute later get on the radio and announce they might have a situation as they waited for an elderly black woman to find her ticket. And in the time it took for them to sort that whole thing out, 10-15 people had gotten on or off the train (and this wasn't in Fareless.)

Anybody else?

No racial but 16.Feb.2005 19:19

Maxie

I've not seen racial targeting but I have seen the fare inspectors be totally rude, accusing and downright mean to some people. Just recently, I was on the Max yellow line and thefare inspectors got on before we left town. One guy (tall, white, 30s, brown hair and goatee, glasses)had an air of being angry about him and he glared around at people until we had departed the Rose Quarter (leaving fareless square). He brusquely demanded our fares and seemed dispapointed that everyone had theirs. Just before Overlook, he asked an older white woman and she explained that the ticket validator was broken, showing him her unvalidated ticket that was in her hand. He sputtered "There's more than one validator there!". She started to say something and he interrupted ,raising his voice "There's FIVE there!" She asked if she was expected to walk all the way to the other side of the Rose quarter and he said yes! She said she was in a hurry and was getting off at Overlook. He said he was also, to give her a ticket. He seemed quite pleased with himself. This really surprised me because I often find the validator broken at Lombard and I just ride, assuming I wouldn't get a ticket. It seems like the kind of thing they could easily check with their radios. It seems like a very unfair policy.

agreed 16.Feb.2005 22:52

red suspenders

The tri-met fare inspectors are uniformly dickheads. Maybe they wanted to be real cops and couldn't make it.
Half the time it's "real" cops checking the trains anyways.. The tri-met goons are redundant and a real waste of taxpayer money.


hell- if trimet would do a little reorginizing, And use thier brains when they build rail they could probably make it free without adding to the taxpayer burden..


Whe the transcontinental railroad was built they actually put in ten miles of track in a day- and nobody even had a cell phone or a battery powered drill now today how many hundred million dollars does it take to remodel the stoopid bus mall.

A fare inspector 17.Feb.2005 10:10

tried to nab me

He was so fat he couldn't hardly move. I just jogged off.

racist, sexist, classist, assholes. 17.Feb.2005 14:40

yup

On 42nd you can stand and watch all of the criteria as they "randomly" check passengers. It just so happens that "random" is determined by skin color and other fairly obvious physical clues.

As a younger white guy I get the easy end of it all, though I used to dress punk so I was often in with those who were checked. Just the other day I had my bike and was getting on the yellow line, and there was an african-amerikan lady with two kids and a stroller under the bike-hanger closest to me, and a ticked checker under the other. The "Alpha Male" ticket checker was also there, and when he saw me, he instructed to mother (!) to move. I was about to suggest that the pig move instead before he begrudgingly decided that his partner could indeed vacate the bike-station.
Though I realy should have just RODE MY BIKE, in general I felt awful knowing that I was being handed such a rediculous privelege. I apologized to the mom- and thought about how we need a revolution.

Come one Red 18.Feb.2005 07:15

-

They laid that much track using Chineses slaves, many of whom died on the job, without a thought from their bosses. Don't long for those good old days. Okay?!

trimet seems like a "sleeper cell" to me 18.Feb.2005 13:38

for various reasons

Transportation is a critical need, and because of this, trimet has the potential to really fuck with the welfare of the state. Think of all the BS that is going on already with the airline inspections including the yellow, red, and green rating system; the military checkpoints in the middle East; and how, if "marshall law" were enstated, interstate commerce would be an issue. And trimet is for "the people," which we all know are under attack. Trimet holds the power to easily fuck with us as a social control.
They advertize the "Safe for the whole family" FISH religious radio slot, using a corporatized, unnatural, cookie cutter Germanic looking family--which scares me.
The other day when I said that a Beaverton cop regularly parked in a no-parking spot, directly designated for trimet use and that trimet should tell the Beaverton cop to stop breaking the law--and they said "He's a cop, so it must be okay." I said, "It is illegal to park on the inside of a white line in a no-parking zone," and she just said that they work with the police all the time anyway--in other words, that they serve the police........and not the taxpayers and customers who pay their salaries!!!!!!!
But most tellingly, when I worked on the PBORDC, I called the popo to get a police representative to speak at our public forum at the First Unitarian Church regarding the patriot act. I was told that Bernie Guisto knew a lot about that stuff. Hmmmm, as law enforcement, was he concerned about transgressions to our Constitution? No, Bernie Guisto, who is actually not popo, but the "elected" sheriff of Greshan, and THE HIGHEST LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL IN THE STATE OF OREGON.......is pro-patriot act, and therefore anti-constitution, and anti-law. This is scary as hell. AND BERNIE GUISTO SITS ON THE TRIMET BOARD OF DIRECTORS.
Enough said.

another 20.Feb.2005 02:47

rosa parks?

In reply to the comments of: "racist, sexist, classist, assholes. 17.Feb.2005 14:40 As a younger white guy I get the easy end of it all, though I used to dress punk so I was often in with those who were checked. Just the other day I had my bike and was getting on the yellow line, and there was an african-amerikan lady with two kids and a stroller under the bike-hanger closest to me, and a ticked checker under the other. The "Alpha Male" ticket checker was also there, and when he saw me, he instructed to mother (!) to move. I was about to suggest that the pig move instead before he begrudgingly decided that his partner could indeed vacate the bike-station. Though I realy should have just RODE MY BIKE, in general I felt awful knowing that I was being handed such a rediculous privelege. I apologized to the mom- and thought about how we need a revolution."

At least you recognize your privileged. I was in a class just a few weeks ago and the professor, who up to this point had seemed quite a nice guy, says that the only prejudice he sees happens against people who are determined to find themselves victims even though they are living in the greatest country in the world looking opportunity in the face and refusing to take ahold of it. I think to myself, does he even see when prejudice really happens? Does he see it when people are profiled? Does he know how it feels for something to happen because of the color of his skin or beccause of his gender? Does he really think things don't really happen, "victims" just think that something happened?

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