Local bus riders in New York City have taken fare evasion to a whole new level. An MTA study shows that one in four local bus riders do not pay their fare.
The first quarter of 2019 saw a 35 percent spike in fare evasion since the same time frame last year. The bus isn’t the only public transportation suffering from the issue; the subways are battling the problem as well. New data shows that 3.9 percent of riders jump subway turnstiles, which may not seem high compared to the rate of bus fare evasion, but global figures put the dillema into perspective. According to the New York Post, the average fare-evasion rates throughout the rest of the world stand at 2.1 percent on subways and just 4.1 percent on buses. And the NYC transit agency is feeling the effects — last week Metro reported that the MTA lost over $225 million due to fare evasion in 2018.
Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his plan to redeploy 500 officials in the public transportation systems to help combat fare evasion as well as assaults on MTA workers. The agency has even developed a special force called New York City Transit Eagle Team which will primarily focus on the major epicenters of fare evasion.
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Additionally, to combat these issues, The Post reported that Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance will contribute $40 million to add more security cameras and improve the station designs.
MTA spokesman Maxwell Young told the The Post that, "Paying the fare is simply not optional, and skipping it is deeply unfair to other customers who do pay, as well as illegal."
If someone doesn’t pay their fare, they can be arrested or receive a summons from New York City. According to an NYPD report, almost 1,000 people have been arrested in this quarter for fare evasion, and over 18,000 people have received summons for not paying their fare.