The MTA needs to curb fare evasion if it wants to increase ridership.
With ridership at about 60% of pre-COVID normal, the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority has huge problems getting people back on trains right now and faces huge budget deficits in the future. There’s a place where these two problems crash into each other: fare evasion. The MTA is creating an expert commission to advise on how to get people to pay up before it’s too late.
MTA chief Janno Lieber laid out the facts this week: “Law-abiding New Yorkers . . . observe too many of their neighbors slip through an open emergency gate, duck a turnstile or walk onto an MTA bus without paying.” More than 12% of subway “customers” are evading the fare, up from 3% in 2018. On buses, a third of passengers are free-riding.
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