Kate Hinds covers transportation for WNYC News.
Fare Beaters Cost City $100M Annually: MTA
Monday, June 25, 2012
Fare beaters cost New York City $100 million a year – and it’s worse on buses than on subways, MTA officials say.
MTA head Joe Lhota said he met last month with NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly, who said the police are stepping up enforcement and spot checks on buses.
“This new effort has just started,” Lhota said, “and I think we’ll see the fruit of this relatively soon.”
As of Tuesday, police have made 1,228 “theft of service” arrests on city buses this year. That’s up 72 percent compared to the same period last year.
Thomas Prendergast, the president of New York City Transit, said he was a former bus operator in Chicago, and called it “one of the most difficult jobs.”
“If you want to work midnight to eight, by yourself on a bus, and challenge somebody for a fare … versus sitting in a booth and calling someone if someone doesn’t pay a fare — it’s a very, very complicated issue,” he said.
And it’s not a financially insignificant one: In 2010, the MTA cut 38 bus lines — and reduced service on 76 more — to save $93 million a year.
“Every dollar we can save from fare evasion is a dollar we can spend for other things,” he said.