Dillon is in college, and he tried to save money by buying a monthly pass on the Metrolink transit system in Southern California. The problem is that Metrolink does a terrible job of explaining how the monthly pass works, and their own staff gives out incorrect information to customers buying the pass for the first time. Now Dillon faces a $250 citation for fare evasion because it turns out he could only use his pass for the upcoming month.
This is what Metrolink displays on their website under the Monthly Pass section:
Valid for unlimited travel between the station where purchased and selected destination during the calendar month printed on the pass. Monthly passes are sold from the 15th of the current month to the 14th of the new month.
There’s no other info, or—what would really help—examples. After considering it, we think that means you can buy a monthly pass up to two weeks before the month in question begins, but it’s not worded very clearly; the second sentence could mean something else entirely when taken on its own. That’s what confused Dillon:
As a first-time pass purchaser, I couldn’t understand exactly what was [meant by] the statement “Monthly passes are sold from the 15th of the current month to the 14th of the new month,” and took it to mean that one purchased a monthly pass on the 15th of a month to last through the 14th of the next month.
It’s also why he asked in person before buying the pass, hoping they’d clear it up. When they said he was good to go, he believed them.
Even the Metrolink security agent who cited him let him use the pass for 4 days before doing anything:
I asked Metrolink staff at Union Station for clarification and to double-check when I was purchasing the pass (which wasn’t cheap for a college student – $203.50) and they nodded a “go-ahead.” I began using the pass immediately on January 15, but it wasn’t until January 20, that a Metrolink security staff representative – the same representative who had been checking my pass for the previous rides – pulled me aside and issued me a citation for fare evasion.
Dillon’s court date is coming up and he’s hoping the judge will agree with him that he acted in good faith (and was partially misled) and shouldn’t have to pay the fine. In the meantime, hey Metrolink! Why don’t you fix that section? Here’s just one way you can rewrite it—take it, it’s a free gift from us. Our version might not be perfect, but by splitting up the two middle-of-the month sections, you can avoid giving the impression that they’re describing the duration of the pass.
Valid for unlimited travel between the station where purchased and selected destination during the calendar month printed on the pass. Passes for the coming month are sold starting on the 15th of the current month.
Please note, you cannot buy a monthly pass for the current month after the 14th.
Update: I left out a detail, which is that the OP deliberately bought his pass on the 15th of January in a mistaken attempt to get a full month of use out of it beginning on that date.