(1) Any entity that owns or operates a public rail system in two or more counties of the state may adopt rules and regulations relating to the operation and management of its rail system, including regulations relating to fares, fees, and charges for the use of the facilities and services of the system.
(2) It is unlawful for any person to ride the rail system without payment of the appropriate fare or to cause goods or other items for which a fee is charged to be carried on the rail system without payment of the fee.
(3)(a) Any person riding the rail system without paying the appropriate fare or causing goods or other items for which a fee is charged to be carried without paying such fee shall be subject to citation by an enforcement officer of the system and, in addition to any other penalty provided by law, is guilty of a noncriminal violation punishable by a fine of $50 per each such violation.
(b) The citation issued to a person in violation of this section shall state the reason for the citation, the amount of the fine, and the court having jurisdiction of the offense.
(c) Each enforcement officer issuing a citation for an alleged violation of this section shall deposit the original and one copy of the citation with a court having jurisdiction over the alleged offense within 5 days after issuance to the violator.
(d) The entity operating the system shall maintain a copy of the citation.
(e) Upon the deposit of the original and one copy of such citation with a court having jurisdiction over the alleged offense, the original or copy of such citation may be disposed of only by trial in the court or other official action by a judge of the court, including forfeiture of the bail, or by the deposit of sufficient bail with or payment of a fine to the entity by the person to whom such citation has been issued.
(f) The entity shall maintain or cause to be maintained a record of the disposition of each citation issued.
(4)(a) Any person cited for an offense under this section shall sign and accept a citation indicating a promise to appear.
(b) Any person who does not elect to appear shall pay the fine either by mail or in person within 30 days of the date of receiving the citation. If the person cited follows the procedure provided in this paragraph, he or she shall be deemed to have admitted the infraction and to have waived his or her right to a trial on the issue of commission of the infraction. Such admission shall not be used as evidence in any other proceeding.
(c) Any person electing to appear before the judge shall be deemed to have waived his or her right to pay the penalty. The judge, after a trial, shall make a determination as to whether an infraction has been proven and may impose a civil penalty not to exceed $500. If the judge determines that no infraction has been committed, no cost or penalties shall be imposed, and any cost or penalty which has been paid shall be returned.
(d) Any person who fails to appear or otherwise properly respond to a citation issued under this section shall also be charged with the offense of failing to respond to such citation and, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. A written warning to this effect shall be provided at the time such citation is issued.
(e) The commission of an offense must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt at any trial.
(5) For the purpose of enforcing the payment of such fares, fees, and charges for use of the facilities and services of the system, such entity shall have the authority:
(a) To employ enforcement officers or contract with a private firm or company to verify payment of appropriate fares or fees and to issue citations to persons traveling on the system without paying the appropriate fare or to persons who cause goods or other items for which a fee is charged to be carried without paying such fee. Such enforcement officers who are not licensed security officers shall not carry firearms or other weapons or have arrest authority; armed security officers performing fare inspection services shall not have arrest authority and shall be licensed as required by chapter 493 and all other applicable laws and regulations.
(b) To maintain records of citations issued and to accept payment of fines and costs.
(6) All fines and forfeitures received by any court from violations of this section shall be paid monthly, less any administrative costs, to the entity operating the system.
(7)(a) The Legislature recognizes the importance of encouraging the seamless use of local and regional public transportation systems by residents of and visitors to the state wherever possible. The paramount concern is to encourage the implementation of fare collection systems that are interoperable and compatible with multiple public transportation systems throughout the state.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, in order to facilitate the ease of transfer from one public transportation system to another, any new public rail system that is constructed after December 1, 2010, by the state, an agency of the state, a regional transportation authority, or one or more counties or municipalities shall use a universally accepted contactless fare media that is compatible with the American Public Transportation Association’s Contactless Fare Media System Standard or the applicable bankcard contactless media standards and allows users to purchase fares at a single point of sale with coin, cash, or credit card. Additionally, any existing public rail system that is adding a new fare media system or is upgrading its existing fare media system shall use a universally accepted contactless fare media that is compatible with the American Public Transportation Association’s Contactless Fare Media System Standard or the applicable bankcard contactless media standards and allows users to purchase fares at a single point of sale with coin, cash, or credit card.
(8) Venue for prosecution or recovery for violations of rules or regulations adopted pursuant to this section shall be in the county where the entity which owns and operates the public rail system maintains its principal place of business.