Are TriMet's broken fare machines creating an unfair system?

Are TriMet's broken fare machines creating an unfair system?

PORTLAND, Ore. - There're still problems with TriMet's ticket machines and riders are fed up, some saying broken machines are leaving them slapped with a fine when they're trying to do the right thing.

People wanted stronger enforcement with more fare inspectors on MAX trains, but now that they have it some riders say enforcement is too heavy handed because too many ticket machines are broken.

"It either won't take change or it won't take the plastic," MAX rider Daniel Goliz said about the automated fare machines.

Goliz and his family depend on TriMet and the MAX trains, especially, for getting around town.

The Goliz family isn't alone. Every MAX rider KATU News spoke with said they have problems with the machines.

"It's at every MAX stop, almost every Max stop," said Daquashona King who has been ticketed twice for nonpayment. "It doesn't take cards and sometimes it doesn't take dollars."

On one platform MAX riders say they can pay with cash but if they use plastic they won't get a ticket.

But once on the MAX they may get a ticket they can't afford: $175 for nonpayment of fare.

According to TriMet, it's true, but riders need to know that they have other options if they come across a broken machine.

"If one machine isn't working, they can try the other one. There are always two machines at a station," said TriMet spokeswoman Mary Fetsch. "If a bus is nearby, they can buy a fare from a bus operator."

Fetsch says more than 90 percent of the machines work and TriMet is replacing some of the older machines that break down more often.

But riders say they've reported bad machines and many are still not working. They want the new beefed up fare inspection team to consider their difficulties before they get slammed with a ticket for nonpayment that they can't afford.

"Hopefully, they will have common sense and a certain amount of leniency toward certain individuals," Goliz said.

According to TriMet, riders can appeal the fare tickets. If those riders identify non-working machines that won't print tickets and TriMet confirms the problem, riders can get the fines canceled.