NYC’s MTA announces fare evasion panel

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In an effort to combat fare evasion, Janno Lieber, New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chair and CEO, announced the organization had created a blue-ribbon panel to develop ways to reduce fare evasion across the MTA transit system.

The “Fareness” panel will focus on innovative approaches to encourage fare payment on the system’s buses, subways, commuter rails, bridges and tunnels. Additionally, the panel will look at how technological, design and personnel solutions can limit fare evasion.

Lieber said that while farebox and toll revenue account for half of MTA’s operating budget, recent years have seen an increase in fare evasion. On subways, fare evasion has more than quadrupled from about 3 percent to more than 12 percent, while on buses approximately one third of all bus riders evades a fare. An increase in fake and obscured license plates designed to evade tolling cameras has increased fare evasion on bridges and tunnel crossings, Lieber said.

“Our New York sense of fairness and community is violated when rule-abiding, honest folks — people who tap or swipe because they know it’s the right thing to do, even if it’s a stretch economically — see others dodging the fare,” Lieber said. “What hardworking, fare paying New Yorkers tell us, in a word, is that seeing fare evasion makes them feel like suckers. Fare evasion is a problem we need to solve together. That’s why I am convening a panel of distinguished New Yorkers to take a deep dive into the issue. The goal is to hit the reset button on how we approach fare evasion at the MTA and across government.”

The panel, which includes members from the law enforcement, academic, government and social services communities, will focus on education, equity and enforcement.