SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board voted Tuesday to decriminalize fare evasion and other passenger conduct violations for minors, bringing the penalties into line with those imposed on adults.

The board voted unanimously to establish administrative penalties for youth cited for passenger violations such as fare evasion, allowing youth for the first time to handle such citations by paying a simple fine.

The city successfully lobbied in 2008 for a change to state law that allowed transit agencies to handle adult transit violation citations such as fare evasion as administrative matters, involving the payment of fines, rather than criminal matters, according to an SFMTA staff report.

However, it was not until this year that the same change was made in the law governing citations for juveniles, according to an SFMTA staff
report.

In practice, this meant that transit citations for youth required court appearances and usually involved larger fines and penalties.

The SFMTA and police together issued a total of 819 citations to youth in Fiscal Year 2015, 352 of which were for fare violations, according
to SFMTA staff.

The state law that took effect on Jan. 1 also allows cities to impose fines for any passenger who fails to yield a seat to an elderly or disabled passenger.

A resolution approved Tuesday set the fine for youth transit violations at $56, half the amount for adults, and the penalty for failing to give up a seat at $112.

TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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