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PORTLAND - TriMet is cracking down on free-riding scofflaws.

TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane said six new supervisors were hired to increase fare inspections.

TriMet said they be will issuing citations and exclusions if riders are found without a valid fare. They warned that even first-time offenders will get a ticket - at a cost of $175.

Over the past five years, the majority of riders received a warning when found without a fare. Between 60 and 72 percent of fare enforcement resulted in a warning during this time frame, said TriMet spokeswoman Mary Fetsch.

TriMet has also doubled the number of technicians dedicated to maintaining ticket vending machines on the MAX platforms, to ensure everyone is able to get a ticket.

TVMs [ticket vending machines] perform at approximately 93 percent uptime. While checking fares, fare enforcers have access to real-time TVM performance data to verify if a machine is out of service, Fetsch added.

Of the $175 base fine, TriMet receives $69; the rest goes to the county and state.

McFarlane has been GM for TriMet for about a year now and said he regularly hears concerns about efforts to collect fare revenue from riders. Now, he said he wants to send a clear message to all riders that they need to pay their fare or face the consequences.

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