What to Know
- Fare evasion is so rampant that it has cost the MTA millions in revenue, according to data revealed Monday by the transportation agency
- The MTA said fare evasion cost them $215 million in 2018, with $119 million lost from bus system and $96 million stemming from subways
- These figures mean that more than 1 in 5 MTA passenger evades paying their fare
Fare evasion is so rampant that it has cost the MTA millions in revenue, according to data revealed Monday by the transportation agency.
MTA Board Member Charles Moerdler said the cash-strapped system has lost millions of dollars to people intentionally beating the fare.
“They are thieves. They are lawbreakers,” Moerdler said.
The MTA said fare evasion cost the agency $215 million in 2018, with $119 million lost from the bus system and $96 million stemming from subway fare beating. In other words, 3.2 percent of subway passengers evade their fare, while 20.4 percent of bus riders forego paying for their rides. This means that more than 1 in 5 bus passengers do not pay.
But many commuters have tremendous empathy for those who can’t afford to pay - yet still must cope with poor service.
“Everybody don’t have money to pay. If you can get on the bus — get on the bus,” commuter Michelle Simmons said.
Passenger DaQuan Gill told NBC 4 New York he sees fare beaters constantly.
“I see it all the time,” Gill said. He added: “Sometimes people took the bus to the wrong stop. They don’t have the money.”
But some riders say it’s the ever-rising price of the ride of $2.75 per swipe that has become punishing for too many.
“I can afford to take the bus," bus passenger Megan Pearson said. "I attempt to not judge people are doing the things they are.”
Transit President Andy Byford called for more cops on buses Monday to combat fare evasion.
MTA drivers have said on some routes it’s too dangerous for them to try and ask a fare beater to pay. Some paying customers tell NBC 4 New York they mind their own business.
“I don’t bother with it," bus rider Diane Smith said. "I pay my fare and that’s it.”