Freeloading Fare Beaters Cost Honest Straphangers Big Time - NBC New York

Freeloading Fare Beaters Cost Honest Straphangers Big Time

Previous Estimates Reportedly Way Off



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    They jump the turnstiles. They crawl under.  Or they just walk right through the emergency door as if they were subway celebrities -- VIPs who don't have to pay like the rest of us.

    They're known as fare beaters.

    And while the Metropolitan Transportation Authority talks about yet another fare hike and more service cuts, consider this:  a newly released MTA analysis says those freeloaders are cheating the system out of four times as much money as previously estimated.

    According to a report by the Daily News, the latest analysis puts the estimated cost of fare beaters at $27 million a year -- not the $7 million that NYC Transit previously estimated.

    And here's something else to consider.

    If the MTA had that $27 million, it might not have to consider yet another round of fare hikes and service cuts to erase its $17.6 million deficit.

    The MTA revised how they count scofflaws back in April.  Before that, clerks helped keep a tally.

    Now, transit officials use "traffic checkers" who are randomly placed at a sampling of turnstiles to count fare-beaters, the News reported.

    That's when MTA beancounters deduced the number of turnstile jumpers was about 19 million per year -- not the five million previously reported.

    "It makes me mad," one honest straphanger told the Daily News.  "Because I have to pay for them."

    Another subway rider suggested posting guards at the turnstiles at every station -- something that's highly unlikely, considering that the MTA wants to eliminate hundreds of jobs to help save money.

    "The MTA's only going to make jumping the turnstiles more inviting by slashing scores of clerks from subway station entrances," said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign, in an interview with the Daily News.