Fare evasion on New York City’s transit systems is reaching concerning levels, causing significant financial losses for the MTA. Recent data reveals a disturbing surge, notably with almost half of bus commuters and about 14% of subway travellers skipping fare payments. Public transportation is one of the most important sectors for a city like New York. To have it operate in losses would not help the city in any way.
According to the New York Post, the latest statistics show a troubling 4% increase in bus fare evasion since May, reaching a staggering 41%. Meanwhile, subway turnstile jumping has peaked at 14%, marking the highest recorded rate in five years. Last year’s estimated cost of $690 million due to fare dodging may surpass this figure in the current year.
MTA Chairman Janno Lieber has prioritised the fight against fare evasion, putting in place a number of measures to address this financial burden, such as increased security and possible redesigns of turnstiles. Lisa Daglian, a panellist who tracks fare evasion occurrences, stressed the seriousness of the matter by noting that each fare that is evaded amounts to $2.90, money that might be used to pay for essential transportation services.
The MTA has not yet released an estimate of the current rise in fare evasion, but its future budget proposal seeks to address these losses. Increasing enforcement and investigating technology developments in turnstile design are two measures taken to lessen fare skipping, though it’s unclear when these will take place.
MTA’s approach to rectify this problem
New Yorkers will adapt and overcome. Their bodies will evolve to be thinner, more narrow, and continue to evade the MTA
— Matt Herrmann (@MattyHerrmann) May 19, 2023
During the middle of this year, the MTA suggests a plan in order to reduce those who are dodging their fares. A new system of gates where passengers can’t easily walk pass by without paying or verifying a ticket might be in place. However, this new fancy technology will also cost a lot of money.
X users joke that New Yorkers will continue to evade fares and will evolve to escape the machines. Furthermore, others state that they will be thinner in order to surpass these new security measures.
And the fare is going up
— Melody ♡ (haha) (@melodyskatess) July 21, 2023
There are some talks that they will start using Artificial Intelligence in order to track down fare evaders. However, some New Yorkers are complaining that the fares they are charging are quite high and it could be unaffordable for some living in the city.
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