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Leaving a validated Calgary Transit ticket illegal, but…

Don’t worry, if you leave your barely used Calgary Transit ticket for someone else, you probably aren’t going to face a fine.

The issue arose early Thursday via a Twitter post from @Crackmacs, showing a still-valid Calgary Transit ticket available for others’ use.

It’s true – a $250 ticket can be issued for the offense under the city’s bylaw, but Calgary Transit superintendent Brian Whitelaw said he can’t recall a time someone’s been tagged. He said this falls into more of a pay-it-forward situation.

“I can’t think of any case like this where we’ve actually done enforcement,” Whitelaw said.

UPDATE: In a 2015 story by then Metro Calgary, a University of Calgary student that had passed on a ticket to another was fined and had a court date set. The person that accepted and boarded the train was also apparently fined. (Courtesy Danny Haines) It’s not clear if the cases ever went to court.

Calgary Transit revenue protection is important: Whitelaw

There’s reason it’s in the city’s bylaw. Whitelaw said it gives the city a wide berth to pursue those behaviours that are damaging to Calgary Transit – such as fare evasion, counterfeit tickets or fraud. He cited a recent case where Calgary Transit recouped $36,000 after a counterfeit scam was foiled.

“Calgary Transit is always trying to protect its revenue streams to make sure that the price of a ticket stays affordable,” Whitelaw said.

“We do have safeguards in place so that we don’t lose a lot of revenue from various forms – using fares twice, we’ve had some counterfeit cases, some Kijiji cases – all of these have an effect on the bottom line. We take pretty stringent steps to protect that revenue.”

Transit did take a large portion of the city’s $60 million in budget cuts earlier this year, with 80,000 transit hours cut from the service.

He said in this case, where a rider has clearly left a validated ticket on the machine, it’s a complicated offense to try and figure out. And, overall Calgary Transit fare evasion is extremely low at 1.6 per cent, he said. So, they just chalk it up to the generosity of Calgarians.

“We would just ask that people don’t do that because two people do ride for one fare, but we’re unlikely to ever lay a charge,” he said.

Editor’s note: The original piece did not include the reference to the previous Metro Calgary story from 2015.