Fare Inspector Holds Passport and Frisks (update with SFMTA comments)
Photo by Flickr user Cold Cream Coffee
While things are looking apocalyptic for Muni, Muni rider Bill sent us a disturbing account of a fare inspection. Here’s what Bill wrote:
At about 6 p.m. tonight (2/1), I listened to a fare inspector on the 8x (bus #6238) ask a rider for his pass. Then the inspector asked him for ID. Once the man produced an Irish passport, the inspector then wanted to know where the man lived in San Francisco and how long he had been in this country. And then, while still holding on to his passport, she headed for the door with instructions that he follow. As the bus pulled away, she had started to pat the guy down.
Can a fare inspector request ID and hold onto it while they question and pat you down? The whole thing just didn’t seem kosher.
This sounds horrible. Positively Draconian. Did anyone else reading this see this go down? Surely a complaint can be lodged, with route, bus number, time of day, description of the POP officer in question. 311. We’ve sent questions to SFMTA for their official word on what fare inspectors can and cannot do, so stay tuned as we update this post.
We got in touch with SFMTA’s public relation officer Kristen Holland, who said that a fare inspector can ask to see your ID “for the purpose of writing a citation.” However, “The transit fare inspectors are not authorized to search Muni customers or their personal belongings.”
Another update from SFMTA: So far they have received no official complaint regarding this incident.