The court received notice that the local transit authority has adopted a violation schedule and will begin issuing civil infractions for transit fare violations.  How do these laws get entered into JIS?

Certain public transportation agencies* are able to adopt local civil infraction schedules for transit fare violations including:

  1. Failure to pay the required fare.
  2. Failure to display proof of payment.
  3. Failure to depart the transportation facility when requested by a person designated to monitor fare payment.

Each of these three violations is in a separate subsection in the following applicable statutes:

  • RCW 35.58.580 - for use by metropolitan municipal corporations (e.g., King County's Metro system) and city-owned transit systems (e.g., Everett Transit).
  • RCW 36.57A.240 - for use by public transportation benefit areas (e.g., Intercity Transit, Pierce Transit, Spokane Transit).
  • RCW 81.112.220 - for use by regional transit authorities (e.g., Sound Transit).

A transportation agency will only use the RCW that applies to it in order to cite all three types of fare violations. 

Because more than one transportation agency of each type can operate within a jurisdiction, and because each transportation agency can adopt a unique schedule of penalty amounts to cite for the RCW that applies to that agency, that RCW (or its subsections) must be entered as a local law in each court in which the authority will file its infractions.  Separate local laws must be entered for each transportation agency filing citations in your court.  

The adopted amounts cannot exceed penalties for Class 1 infractions under RCW 7.80.120.  Currently the maximum is $250, not including statutory PSEA assessments of 105% of the penalty (to total $513).

Transit fare violations may be filed in the district or municipal court. The transportation agency issuing the violation will determine in which courts they will file. Some transportation systems operate within multiple counties and municipalities. For example, Pierce Transit has routes that include Pierce County and Thurston Counties, with stops within many municipalities along the way.  Tickets issued by Pierce Transit may be filed in the District Court of either Pierce or Thurston County or in one of the Municipal Courts, depending on where the fare violation occurred. 

When a Court is advised that a public transportation agency plans to adopt a penalty schedule and issue infractions to their court, the following steps need to be completed prior to being able to enter any tickets into JIS:

  1. Search JIS using OFO to see if the Transit Authority has previously been added into JIS as an LEA (Name Code Type: LE).  If the code does not already exist in JIS, submit an eService Center incident to AOC via eService Center, to request the Transit Authority agency be added as an LEA.
  2. Once the LEA is added, add any officers into JIS that will be issuing citations.  Special instructions are available in the Online Manual for adding Law Enforcement Officers into JIS.
  3. Associate the LEA code with the court's Jurisdiction on the Organization Association (ORA) screen.
  4. Add the relevant RCWs to the court's local law table.  Be sure to follow the recommended format for local law numbers when entering the transit fare violation law into the FPSU screen.  Use the LEA initials, instead of your courts local code, when entering the law number.             

The transit fare violation law should be added as a local "IN-Infraction Non-traffic" law, with the Case Type and Caseload Case Type codes should both be IN.   Also, be sure to use the current BARS Code for Other Infraction type violations. 

*NOTE:  Only the public transportation agencies authorized by each RCW above can adopt local civil infractions at this time.  This does not include the following agencies:

  • County Transportation Authorities (e.g., Grays Harbor or Columbia Counties)
  • Unincorporated Transportation Benefit Areas (e.g., Garfield County)
  • State-run ferry systems

Ferries run by one of the qualifying agencies identified in the above answer are included in the authority provided in the RCWs above.

RN id: 2088