Sample Psychology Case Study on Fare Evasion by passengers in TTC’s streetcars

Case #3 involves fare evasion by passengers in TTC’s streetcars. Despite the existence of heavy penalties to discourage fare evasion; such as a $450-dollar fine, the behavior is still rampant among TTC’s passengers. Therefore, an assessment of the ticketing system alongside passengers’ concerns is crucial to determine the cause of the vice, as well as effective interventions.

Functional Assessment

An evaluation of TTC’s ticketing system reveals various loopholes that promote the vice of fare evasion. The main loopholes identified are; foremost, while passengers are allowed to board and top up while inside the streetcar, there are no proper directives to guide the passengers on the top-up procedure. Secondly, the company has digitalized the ticketing system but failed to initiate a balance-checking gadget prior to boarding the streetcars. Third, passengers’ concerns reveal that most of the time technical failures, such as faulty machines, bar them from paying their fare (CBC News, 2019). Lastly, the large number of passengers in the streetcars makes it easy for the majority of the passengers not to pay fare. As such, TTC loses millions of revenues due to the technicality in operating its ticketing system. The passengers’ behavior of fare evasion is maintained by the operant principle of behavior modification since the ticketing systems allow for a larger percentage in fare evasion. As such, fare evasion is a consequence behavior developed by passengers in response to the technicalities of TTC’s ticketing system.


To eliminate the fare evasion behavior, the company must adopt strategies that are friendly to its customers while efficiently minimizing payment breakdowns. Marshall (2020) notes that the payment machines do not accept banknotes nor debit cards. The company should include such payment options to enable customers to pay the fare in case of zero-balance in their presto cards. Secondly, the company should remove the reload machines from the middle and bring them closer to the entrances of the vehicle such that in case of zero balance, one can top up and pay before boarding the vehicle. Secondly, a balance inquiry booth should be placed at each stop to enable passengers to know their balances before boarding any TTC streetcar. The company can also place directives to guide passengers on what to do in case of an emergency of zero balance, or faulty machines. In doing so, TTC’s management will help passengers to pay their fares early before arriving at their destination. Third, a policy should be introduced so that, after payment, the generated receipt has a corresponding seat code that reflects on the driver’s dashboard enabling the driver to identify seats that are occupied but not yet paid for before leaving a stop. Lastly, the company can introduce credits, only earned for every fare paid using the PRESTO card. As such, the credit system will help reinforce fare payments.

An experimental study is necessary to determine the effectiveness of the recommended interventions. Thus, an observational study will be carried out to analyze how passengers respond to the new policies. The experimental study will apply a pre and post-test research design to evaluate the policy implications using one identified fare-evasive passenger as the study’s sample. The behavior of the passenger in regard to fare payment will be recorded before and after the implementation of the new policies. The results obtained will thus be generalized for the rest of the public. One passenger is to be used to overcome the limitation of behavior similarities as was identified in the case study.  Thereafter, a questionnaire will be administered on randomly selected passengers to obtain the public’s feedback on the new policies and suggest other ways that the company can improve its services. In doing so, passengers will feel included in the decision-making process; hence, improving the relationship between passengers and the company.


TTC must implement customer-conscious strategies to help cover the loopholes in its ticketing system. For instance, linking seat codes generated in receipts to drivers’ dashboards will also help identify fare defaulters before any streetcar leaves a station. Moreover, by addressing the issues of faulty fare machines, the company will make fare payment an easy task, thus reducing the rate of fare evasion.




CBC News. (2019). The TTC has an expensive fare evasion problem. Here’s why some riders say they ride for free. CBCNews. Retrieved from

Marshall, S. (2020). The TTC needs customer buy-in, not a campaign of scolding its passengers. Marshall’s Musings. Retrieved from https://Sean