"But who are the real free riders? Everyone who rides a train or bus which is subsidized by the tax payer. The sad part is, we never even get a thank you, so we can respond with a 'you are not welcome' in return."
Relax, all my liberal friends. This has nothing to do with welfare (although it could have been). No, this is about the nimrods who hop on the LRT, and ride it without paying. So what? What difference does it make? Quite a bit, actually. The people who do that obviously never heard the expression, "there is no such thing as a free lunch". Well, there is no such thing as a free ride either.
The number of free riders on the LRT is increasing. On the Blue Line for example, the percentage of people who do not pay went from about 2% in 2014 to 10% in 2015. Quite a jump. And why not? The chances of getting caught are slim, and if you do, you might just get a warning. Worst case? A ticket for $180. But the odds still favor saving the $2.25 by not paying a dime and just taking the chance.
Considering all the boondoggles the Met Council has gotten us into, the LRT is probably the cheapest we have to pay for. Cheapest? Yup. According to a WCCO report from April 2017, the LRT costs the taxpayer just under $2 a passenger, per ride. Of course when there are free riders, the cost of that ride costs the taxpayers over $4. Big deal Bird! Chump change, ride.
Well, yes. That is, until you start adding things up. We the taxpayers not only pony up the $2 per ride (if the customer is a paying customer) for LRT, we also pay over $3 per passenger per ride for a bus. Now it gets really scary. We pay over $18 per passenger, per ride for the world famous North Star. AND, the grand daddy of them all is Metro Mobility. For that the taxpayer is on the hook for about $24 per passenger, per ride.
With ALL those subsidy dollars the good people of Minnesota are giving to the Met Council to keep these bright shiny things running, the overlords at the Met Council were finally forced to raise rates on the riders a whopping 25 cents per ride. And even with that, the riders howled in disgust. I would love to see the reaction if they had to pay the entire amount necessary to keep these things running.
There is the bottom line. Every time you see a free rider, they are not robbing the train. They are robbing the taxpayer. Or the other riders who have to pay a higher fare. But who are the real free riders? Everyone who rides a train or bus which is subsidized by the tax payer. The sad part is, we never even get a thank you, so we can respond with a "you are not welcome" in return.