Report: Cops handing out fewer fare-beating tickets

By · Published in 2010

Jumping these turnstiles won’t get you far. (Photo by flickr user saitowitz)

As New York City Transit officials announced yesterday that fare-beating numbers are higher than expected, today, we learn that cops ticketed fewer turnstile-jumpers last year than they had in the past. Somewhere along the line, the fare-enforcement system seems to be breaking down.

According to Pete Donohue of the Daily News, cops ticketed or arrested 87,000 fare-beaters last year, the lowest total in five years. Donohue has more on the statistics:

The police gave fare-evasion tickets to more than 68,000 riders last year and arrested an additional 19,000 for jumping the turnstile. That’s a 12% drop from the 99,000 straphangers cited in 2005, with about 86,000 getting summonses and nearly 13,000 arrested.

The NYPD pointed out that although overall enforcement is down, arrests are up. “The department focused on the arrest of more serious offenders,” Sgt. Carlos Nieves said.

For its part, the MTA told Donohue that it will “continue to work with the NYPD on cost-effective strategies such as targeting high-incidence locations and placing cameras in key areas.” However, I have to wonder about NYPD priorities. They seem highly skewed to me.

Over the last few months, we’ve heard numerous stories of a ticketing blitz targeting people on mostly empty trains who are taking up two seats. As I’ve written before, taking up two seats isn’t a violation of NYC Transit Rules of Conduct unless doing so would “interfere or tend to interfere with the operation of the Authority’s transit system or the comfort of other passengers.” No one is inconvenienced if someone spreads out on a train car with only four other people at 2:30 in the morning.

Instead of targeting these non-offenders, the NYPD should be focusing on fare-beating. If the recent numbers are to be believed, only half of one percent of all turnstile jumpers have been ticketed or arrested by cops. That’s a pitifully low number, and to get fare beaters under control, the police and the MTA should ramp up enforcement. Whether or not fare jumping will increase as the number of station agents decrease remains to be seen, but that shouldn’t stop the cops and the MTA from doing all they can to halt fare-jumping.

10 Responses to “Report: Cops handing out fewer fare-beating tickets”

  1. SEAN says:

    Lets take a trip into the mind of an NYPD officer. Hmmm, fare beeters or terrorists, now wich one is a priority? Oh Yeah!It’s the terrorists, therefore less atention is paid to turnstyle jumpers & by extention fewer tickets.

  2. ferryboi says:

    Let’s take a trip into the mind of an NYPD Officer. Fare beaters, or going upstairs and catching someone who’se parking meter expires 30 seconds ago? They’re likely middle class, can afford the ticket, and probably won’t give me any trouble. Plus, I can give out a $135 ticket without having to do all that paperwork if I arrest a farebeater. Oh yeah, and I’ll go thru some 75-year-old woman’s bag to make sure she’s not a terrorist. If I have the time.

    • Alon Levy says:

      Um, the cops don’t usually go through 75-year-old women’s bags. They racially profile – they disproportionately search young men who look black, Arab, or Hispanic.

  3. Woody says:

    Ferriboi is onto something.

    The fare beater is probably unemployed and has not assets whatsoever. The sneakerclad perp that comes to mind is probably still living with his mother. In fact, he already has a collection of unpaid tickets for various other heinous offenses like smoking a joint in the park or carrying an open can of beer in a brown bag on the sidewalk. He can’t pay the pile of tickets he already has, no way, never, so what’s one more?

    The cop understands that the deterrent power of another ticket to this farebeater is nil. Perhaps the cop joined the force hoping to make a better world, and she hates to waste her effort on unemployed broke-ass dead-enders.

    Instead, by ticketing the car that could as easily been left in its garage had the owner taken transit to the parking place where she finds it just upstairs from the subway station, she may help ease congestion, cut down on air and noise pollution, and even reduce the risk of manslaughter by traffic. I applaud the cop’s rational choice of where to apply her efforts toward a better world.

    • ferryboi says:

      Unitl the farebeater/thug stabs you or a loved one to help pay for his crystel meth habit. But of course those rotten, middle class, tax-paying people who drive to work because the city refuses to build a subway that comes within 5 miles of their home, and who pay the MTA high tolls to cross from one boro to another are the real enemy.

      • Alon Levy says:

        Or until the driver runs you over…

        They did a couple of surveys of people who drive into Manhattan a few years ago for PlaNYC. It turned out that 80% of them had okay transit alternatives and just chose not to take them.

        • ferryboi says:

          Does that include all those pesky ambulances, police cars, fire trucks, and delivery vans that transport your goods and services to Manhattan? When it gets to the point that people think a driver coming into NYC to go to work or enjoy a night out is more of a problem than farebeating muggers on the subway, than maybe it really is time for the middle class to leave NYC. You and all your farebeater friends can pay the high taxes and watch as the city falls in receivership, much like the 1970s. Enjoy.

          • Alon Levy says:

            Dude, the middle class doesn’t drive to Manhattan – the upper class does (and no, the 80% in question are people driving to work). Cut the Staten Island nationalism, okay? I understand that not everyone likes to be told that their lifestyle gives other people asthma. But that’s no reason to dig in and ignore what you’re doing.

            Also, farebeating and mugging? Two different things.

          • Woody says:

            Never been mugged on the subways, not even in the good old days. Never been stabbed by a farebeater. In fact, I can’t think of anything much the farebeater does to bother me except to freeload, kind of like drivers who drive around and around looking for free parking spaces. Numerous times, when walking or riding a bike, I have been assaulted by the blowing horns of drivers who think the streets where I live and work somehow belong to them because they bought two tons of rust-to-be. Yes, noise pollution is assault in my experience. Please take your horn honking back to Jersey where it belongs.


  1. […] will continue. For more on the issue of fare-beaters, check out the coverage from Tuesday and Wednesday. Categories : Asides, […]

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