Subway Fare Evaders Ruin It for the Rest of Us


We’ve all witnessed people jumping over the subway turnstiles or entering the wrong way through an emergency-exit door. And what do we do about it when that happens? Nothing, for many possible reasons. One, because they are clearly homeless/poor and you feel bad for them. Two, because they are thuggish types who could kick your ass. Three, because who are you, a tattletale? And four, because who cares, it doesn’t affect you. Except, according to an audit of just how much fare beaters are costing the system, it actually affects everyone in the city.

For years, NYC Transit had estimated the number of fare evaders by having token-booth agents tally the number of incidents they observed on a particular day each month, and extrapolating from that data. But recently the MTA decided to confirm those numbers with designated “traffic checkers,” and found that the amount the agency lost to fare evaders was much, much higher — $27 million last year alone, compared to the previous estimate of $7 million. $27 million could easily cover the recently approved $17.6 million in subway service cuts which will result in longer weekend wait times on the lettered lines, a shorter G line, and the elimination of the W train. Unfortunately, things are only bound to get worse as the MTA prepares to lay off hundreds more station agents. We’d say it’s now your duty to tattle, except there usually won’t be anyone to tattle to.

Fare-beaters cost NYC Transit a staggering $27 million in 2009, new research finds [NYDN]