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Loophole in fare-evasion crackdown law now closed, minister says

A SkyTrain pulls into Marine Drive station in Vancouver on August 13, 2012.

Jeff Vinnick/The Globe and Mail

Transportation Minister Mary Polak says a loophole that allowed TransLink fare evaders to elude penalties has been closed.

The provincial government passed a law in the spring to fix one gap in the law: TransLink could issue tickets for fare evasion, but had no legal authority to force people to pay a fine. The fine for not having valid proof of payment in a fare-paid zone is $173, rising to $213 after six months and $273 after a year.

The law, which came into force this week, was designed to ensure those penalties could be collected, but transit security officers discovered it didn't give them the authority to demand identification, rendering the new law ineffective.

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"It shouldn't have happened and we are fixing it as quickly as we possibly can," Ms. Polak told reporters earlier in the day. She signed a cabinet order that will give transit officers the ability to demand identification if a passenger cannot produce a valid fare.

"We are doing our best to put everything in place to ensure the free ride is over."

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About the Author
B.C. politics reporter

Based in the press gallery of the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, Justine has followed the ups and downs of B.C. premiers since 1988. She has also worked as a business reporter and on Parliament Hill covering national politics. More

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