Assembly clears Chaparro bill where proof of payment would erase $75 fine for light rail riders

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The New Jersey Assembly cleared a bill sponsored by Annette Chaparro (D-33) that would allow a proof of payment system to erase a $75 fine for light rail riders who have forgot to stamp their tickets in the past.

Photo via njtransit.com.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Under Bill A-1223), passengers would receive proof of payment that would include the time period for which the ticket is valid or the time of expiration, so that light rail riders would not need to time stamp their tickets.

A person in possession of proof of payment would not need to take any additional action. The proof of payment may be printed or delivered electronically and the bill is co-sponsored by Assemblymen Bill Moen (D-5) and Jay Webber (D-26).

“With varying policies and procedures across NJTRANSIT services, it’s easy to understand why there could be confusion among passengers. Some riders may expect a conductor to validate their ticket, just as they do on commuter rails, or may not know they’re supposed to time stamp their own ticket at a separate machine,” the three legislative sponsors said in a joint statement.

“This bill simplifies the ticket validation process for riders by providing them proof of payment and ticket validity. The goal is to protect passengers from being unfairly penalized and make the system easier for all.”

Currently, passengers on light rail service need to purchase tickets at one machine and validate, or “time stamp,” them at another.

If a rider forgets to validate their ticket, they face a fine of $75, the same penalty as fare evasion.

Drivers or conductors on NJ Transit buses and commuter rail check tickets for validity, but riders on light rail are only asked to show time-stamped paper tickets or monthly passes sporadically when requested by a fare enforcement officer.

NJ Transit recently made electronic tickets available to light rail riders via their smartphone, which are valid three minutes after activation. However, tickets have different lifespans of validity depending on the line.

The measure will now head to the state Senate for further consideration.