On my way to downtown Sunday, I rode the Metro Gold Line from Pasadena’s Sierra Madre Villa station to Union Station. Along the way, something happened that I’ve never experienced in my years of riding the light-rail line.
Four sheriff’s deputies boarded the train at Del Mar Station and spoke to everyone one board. “We need to see your tickets, please,” said the deputy closest to me. He stooped over and squinted at the my one-way ticket which I purchased at the busy East Pasadena station.
No more scofflaws.
The ticket checking is going on more frequently, I’ve been told. It is related to the fact that Metro (MTA) is installing turnstiles at every station on every line. They were ready to go on the Red Line, at least in the First Avenue (Civic Center) station. Soon, all light rail will be like the subways of NYC or Washington D.C., that is, you’ll need to insert your ticket to open the turnstile, or you can tap a loaded cash card that the Metro is selling (this is a lot like the BART in Northern California).
The old way was simply to buy the tickets, period. They used the honor system (and the threat of a cop who would write you a ticket) to get you to pay a fare.
I also noticed while on the Union Station/Gold Line platform something else that is coming: the Eastside Gold Line line. This will run easterly from Union Station to Little Tokyo through East Los Angeles to the edge of Monterey Park. That line is expected to open later this month.
But you better have a ticket to ride.
Still, at $1.25 one-way, it is a bargain. (see picture below)