Photo by Xinhua/Sipa USA

MTA Wants Police To Crack Down On Fare-Evaders

March 26, 2019 - 6:59 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Fare evasion has become so rampant and so costly that the MTA wants to put police officers on buses and cameras at subway turnstiles.

Last year, the agency lost $225 million to riders who skipped the fare.

Transit President Andy Byford says one in five bus riders avoid paying for their trips.

So far this year, cops have already issued 5,000 evasion summonses on city buses.

Byford says the agency will be expanding the use of so-called “eagle” teams – usually retired police officers – who have the authority to hand out tickets on local bus routes, including three problematic routes in the Bronx and Staten Island.

Byford also wants uniformed and plainclothes officers aboard buses to deter fare evasion.

PBA President Patrick Lynch, the head of a union who represents police officers, responded to the idea Monday, blasting the fact NYPD officers are paid 30 percent less on average than other local police departments.

“Once again, New York City is turning to its grossly underpaid police officers to help protect critical services and keep the city running,” Lynch said, adding that officers need to be paid more “while we professionally solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.”

The crackdown on fare-evaders has raised concerns about the racial bias of policing in the transit system. The authority does not provide details on the demographics of offenders or how it tracks fare evasion.

Some advocates say fare evasion is a crime of poverty and that the MTA should be spending its resources on a plan to help low-income New Yorkers with discounted or free fares.