A San Diego Metropolitan Transit System pilot program that reduces fines and offers alternative payment and community service options for fare violators was approved today by the MTS Board of Directors.
Starting in September, citations for a lack of fares will be reduced to $25, which violators must pay within 120 days either in person at the Transit Store or by mail.
Those who cannot pay will also have the option of performing three to four hours of community service through the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank and other organizations MTS says it is working to add to the program.
The ongoing appeals process allows violators to appeal citations within 15 days, which can be done with proof of a paid fare or in cases of malfunctioning ticket machines.
Citations that are not paid within 120 days will proceed to criminal court, after which additional fines could be levied.
The new program was created to "provide more flexibility for passengers who receive citations for not having a valid fare" on MTS buses and trolleys, according to an MTS statement.
"MTS and the Board of Directors took some important steps to make systemic improvements to our transit system -- the agency is taking a new approach to fare enforcement," MTS board chair and county Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said.