Fare dodgers on the bus beware!
The NYPD announced today they are cracking down hard on those who try to sneak onto city buses without paying up.
Arrests for fare evasion on MTA buses have increased 102 percent since this time last year, said top NYPD officials this morning.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly attributed the increase in arrests to strategically placed officers on city bus routes. Some of the officers are uniformed, but others are in plain clothes, to look like ordinary bus riders.
“This … has resulted in additional fare evasion arrests and we believe deters other crimes in transit,” said Kelly.
Despite the wider net cast by the NYPD to catch fare skippers, several bus drivers told Metro yesterday that evasion is still a rampant — and daily — problem on the city's buses.
Metro asked Marcia Phinn, a veteran bus driver for more than 24 years, how often she sees fare dodgers. All she could do was laugh.
“Oh God. A lot is the best way to put it,” said Phinn, who drives the B35 bus, which runs from Sunset Park to Brownsville, Brooklyn.
According to Phinn, in an 8-hour shift she can see an average of 50 riders who simply tell her they don’t have the money and walk on anyway.
“At this point I don’t confront them,” said Phinn, who added she knows several other drivers who have been spit on or even held at gunpoint over fights with fare evaders. “I don’t want to go through that over $2.25.”
“It’s definitely gotten worse over the years,” added Phinn. “Without a doubt.”
The MTA declined to comment on the NYPD’s statistics.
However the Daily News reported last week that the MTA loses almost $50 million per year to fare dodgers.
Hide your iPods, hide your Androids
It's like the New York City subway version of Antoine Dodson's good advice: With iPod and iPad thefts on subways and buses on the rise, a new public service campaign by the MTA is urging riders to keep a close eye on their shiny gadgets.
“’Don’t be a target of opportunity!” say the posters, which also feature a cartoon thief attempting to steal a smartphone.
The posters are going up now in the subway system.
“Enforcement and public awareness are both critical to combating thefts of iPhones and other electronic devices on the subway,” said Kelly about the new “Safeguard Your Stuff” campaign.
The posters repeat their message in 12 other languages aside from English, and warn riders to be especially alert when sitting near the subway doors.