SB 882 (2016) - End the Criminalization of Youth for Riding Transit Without Fare

California must stop criminalizing children and youth for riding transit without fare. No child should be charged with a criminal offense because they could not pay a couple of dollars to ride a train or bus.

Transit fare evasion is the most cited infraction for children under age 18 in many counties. Currently, California law burdens youth cited for riding transit without fare with court appearances, which can lead to missed school or work, and fines that their families often cannot afford to pay. Research shows that when a youth has even one court appearance during high school, it quadruples his or her odds of dropping out of school. California’s current law fails to address the underlying need for youth to have affordable access to public transportation.

Senate Bill 882, by Senator Robert Hertzberg, prevents children and youth under 18 from being charged with a penal code infraction for riding transit without fare.

UPDATE: Great news: thanks to your advocacy, Governor Brown signed SB 882 into law on August 22! The law will take effect January 1, 2017. Read the press release.

Latest News and Updates

August 22: Governor Brown signed SB 882 into law! Read the press release.

August 4: The Assembly passed SB 882 on a 45-29 vote.

June 28: The Assembly Public Safety Committee passed SB 882.

June 2: The Senate passed SB 882 on a 23-14 vote.

May 27: The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the bill off of the Suspense File. 

April 12: The Senate Public Safety Committee passed SB 882. 

January 15, 2016: Senator Hertzberg introduces SB 882

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Youth Stories

Prosecution for fare evasion undermines a child’s future, while unnecessarily burdening public safety systems. Youth leaders from the Youth Justice Center have experienced the impact of the criminalization of youth transit fare evasion:

Tanisha Denard and her two siblings saw too often how their mom struggled to come up with $100 a month to buy student metro passes for her children. But when it came to choosing transportation over housing or food, she couldn’t do it. So, while Tanisha’s mom had the impossible choice of buying transit passes for her kids or keeping her family from being hungry or homeless, Tanisha had to choose between walking miles through tough neighborhoods, getting a truancy ticket, or facing a penal code violation for transit fare evasion. This is how she ended up in juvenile hall.

Ademir Aguilar, a high school student in Los Angeles County, where fare evasion tickets for youth under the age of 18 average 10,000 a year, received a ticket the day after his monthly pass had expired. The ticket Ademir received, having not even realized that his pass had expired, put him into the juvenile justice system with his first conviction.

Our Partners


Children's Defense Fund-California

Western Center on Law & Poverty

Western Center on Law & Poverty, California’s oldest and largest legal services support center, was created in 1967 by a passionate group of attorneys and legal scholars from USC, UCLA and Loyola law schools.

Youth Justice Coalition

The YJC uses direct action organizing, advocacy, political education, transformative justice and activist arts to mobilize system-involved youth, families and our allies – both in the community and within lock-ups – to bring about change.

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