Man Fined $1,050 for Not Having $1.50 Bus Ticket

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A Stockton man was fined 700-times the amount of his bus fare for not having a valid ticket.

Aug. 6, Delta College student Richard Sentz says he bought a new bus pass, but accidentally threw it away when cleaning out his pockets and kept an expired one.

“The police department hopped on the bus and asked for tickets,” Sentz told FOX40. “My ticket was expired by 10, 20 minutes or so. It was not valid.”

Two weeks later, Sentz got a letter from the San Joaquin County Court. He was fined $1,050 for not having a $1.50 bus ticket. That’s a 700 percent markup.

“It’s a very, very high fine and the irony is (the San Joaquin Regional Transit District) receives none of that back,” said Paul Rapp, with the transit district.

The base fine for fare evasion is $250; double that for the state penalty. Tack on another $175 in county penalties and so on and so forth until it hits $1,050.

“This is ridiculous,” said Sentz. “I just couldn’t believe there was a $1,050 ticket for that. I mean, a speeding ticket doesn’t even cost that much.”

The way fees are handled is about to change, though. Assembly Member Cathleen Galgiani has pushed through AB 492, which hands over control of fare evasion fees and the money that comes from them back to the San Joaquin Regional Transit District and not the state.

AB 492 will take effect in January.

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