Governor Baker's Plan Would Make It Illegal To Arrest MBTA Fare Evaders

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker put forward several proposals on Friday which would implement new fines in the state's transit systems.

Baker's supplemental budget plan includes lowering penalties for people who evade fares on the MBTA.

If approved by lawmakers, those new fines would drop from the current range of $100 to $600 down to a new range of $10 up to $250 for repeat offenders.

The issue of lowering fine rates was initially brought up by advocates who were concerned about low-income and minority riders being unfairly targeted for enforcement, according to the Boston Globe.

Baker's plan would also make it illegal to arrest passengers for evading a fare, which is allowed under current law if they refuse to show personal identification. If is passes, Baker's proposal would allow for a designated civilian workforce to check fares, the MBTA would establish alternative ways for riders to pay fines, and there would be a less stringent appeals process.

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Private vehicle drivers could also be impacted by Baker's plan. If approved, it would cite drivers $100 to $200 for driving in or blocking bus-only lanes around Greater Boston.

Baker's proposal would also make 'T' riders ineligible to renew their driver's license after they accumulate two or more fare citations. That would be a loosened version of the current law, which allows the RMV to block license renewal over a single outstanding citation payment.

The Governor's supplemental budget plan comes after he released a $44.6 Billion state budget proposal last month, which included an increase of $135 million in operating funds for the MBTA.

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