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Trimet treats paratransit riders, but not regular bus or train riders, as thieves.

Date: May 2, 2011

Dear Trimet,

I am a LIFT paratransit rider and I am writing to express my concern about Trimet’s recent change of policy or its decision to enforce the previously unenforced policy to require LIFT riders to print their names on the back of their monthly passes and LIFT drivers to verify that the name on the pass matches the name of the rider.

The LIFT driver informed me that the change was made due to a concern that some people are sharing their monthly pass among each other, depriving Trimet of fare. I was further told that I would be reported as not having paid my fare even if I am waving a pass in their face, thereby threatening my transportation in the future, unless I write my name on the back.

I find it annoying and disturbing that Trimet would treat paying riders as thieves and free-riders until proven otherwise, but that is not my main complaint.

My main complaint is that this policy discriminates againt people with certain kinds of disabilities because people traveling on regular route Trimet buses and light rail trains are not burdened with such request. Regular bus riders could share a bus pass among themselves and they will never get caught, or asked to prove that they have actually purchased the pass.

The policy singles out paratransit riders–by definition people with certain types of disabilities–and subjugates them to an increased level of scrutiny that people who do not have these types of disabilities, even though they are equally capable of abusing their monthly passes.

If pass-sharing is indeed a serious problem, Trimet must enforce this policy equally to all of its riders, rather than singling out people with certain types of disabilities. Otherwise, Trimet should terminate the policy and stop putting paratransit riders under greater scrutiny than it does to all other riders.

Please know that I have signed my May 2011 monthly pass as “Rosa Parks,” so it will not match my real name. I will also encourage other people I know who use LIFT to sign their passes as Rosa Parks as well.

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