Man hopes video evidence will help cancel STM's $250 fare-jumping ticket
Published Tuesday, April 16, 2019 2:19PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 16, 2019 7:06PM EDT
A Montreal man was ticketed $250 after he claims he lost his metro ticket.
And even though he has video evidence that he paid the fare, the STM has refused to let him off.
Although the man in question was ticketed two years ago, he’s now preparing for a court date next week.
Ethan Nanassi was going downtown with some friends at the time. He says he knew he was going to be drinking, and made the decision to take public transit to his destination – purchasing a metro ticket at the Vendome station.
Nanassi obtained video evidence from the STM, which shows him paying the fare and talking to a ticket agent before passing through the turnstiles.
However, Nanassi says he lost the paper ticket somewhere in transit between Vendome and Guy-Concordia. A security agent approached him, and issued a ticket for not having proof of purchase.
“I tried to explain to them – but they don’t care what you have to say,” Nanassi explained. “They obviously have to follow a procedure, they follow what they’re told to do – what their job is – and I understand that.”
“But no matter if I explain it, if my friends that are with me explain it for me, it’s irrelevant to them. In that moment, I’ve broken the law, I’m getting a ticket,” he added.
After obtaining the footage, Nanassi even had a meeting with the higher-ups at the STM to show them the footage – but they still refused to cancel the ticket.
Fare evasion is a hot topic with the STM, and they say they’re trying to find ways to avoid it. They can’t give exact figures about how much money is lost per year – but some estimates indicate that it could be costing the transit corporation anywhere from $20 million to $30 million a year.
“That can be a problem indeed for our financing,” explained STM Vice-President Craig Sauve. “It doesn’t make up a large part [of our financing] but it is a number that we could be investing otherwise in the system.”
Sauve says they’re trying to push for preventative measures like a “social tariff” – a sliding scale price that would help lower-income people to still take the metro.
New methods of payment – through a phone, or prepaid - may also decrease fare-jumping, Sauve said.
“We’re trying to make life easier for our riders, and make it more interesting for our riders as well,” he added.
However, it could take years to roll out these alternatives.
The case may also face scrutiny in front of a judge, according to one Montreal lawyer.
"There are certain offences - welfare offences, statuatory offences, including traffic tickets - where guilt, in the sense of intention, does not have to be proved," explained Andrew Barbacki. "To the extent where we can say it's putting the burden on somebody to prove they did pay, if the offence was 'failure to pay' - that is reversing the presumption of innocence."
"But here, they're not really charged with not paying - they're charged with simply not keeping a copy of their ticket."