Home Staten Island Fare-collection at SIR’s Tompkinsville starts Wed.

Fare-collection at SIR’s Tompkinsville starts Wed.

by Benjamin Kabak

Since the MTA eliminated fare-collection agents on the Staten Island Railway as a cost-measure in the 1990s, the agency has seen its SIR-related revenues dry up. That will change tomorrow when the agency begins collecting fares at Tompkinsville as part of a $6.9 million program designed to turn around the SIR’s money-losing ways.

For years, the SIR has been unique among the city’s transit options. The MTA has collected fares at only the St. George Ferry Terminal and the Staten Island Yankees’ ballpark stops. Tompkinsville is but a half-mile away from the northern end of the line, and many customers are more than happy to hoof to avoid paying the fare. The MTA launched this project in 2008 with an eye toward completing it during the summer of 2009, but tomorrow — a few months late — the free ride will end.

As part of the Fare Collection Project, the agency has beefed up the Tompkinsville stop. Riders will now have a station house in which to wait as well as turnstiles to serve as the fare gates, cameras for safety and enforcement efforts, and fare vending and communications equipment. The agency says this move is expected to bring in approximately $702,000 annually, a 15 percent increase in total SIR fare revenue and will cut the estimated $3.4 million in operating losses incurred on Staten Island by more than 20 percent.

Staten Island residents looking to evade the fare could still choose to walk yet another three-quarters of a mile to the Stapleton stop. If a 25-minute walk from the ferry terminal is a better use of your time than simply paying a fare that is, at most, a $2.25 MetroCard swipe, then, time isn’t always money.

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Christopher January 19, 2010 - 12:14 pm

I don’t begrudge the MTA collecting a fare at the Tompkinsville stop, but does anyone know how many people were actually taking advantage of this work-around each day? Just curious.

Jonathan January 19, 2010 - 12:40 pm

Ben, I believe that the SIR is part of the free MetroCard transfer system (within two hours). If I took the R from Times Square to Whitehall St, then boarded the ferry, my ride on SIR would be covered by the free transfer, correct? I have seen for myself that the SI buses work that way.

Jerrold January 19, 2010 - 5:57 pm

Yes, but the people were getting off at the next station in order to beat the fare must have been people who work in the “tip-of-Manhattan” area. If somebody has to use the subway to travel from the ferry to his job, then of course he is paying the fare anyway when he enters the subway.

Mike January 19, 2010 - 1:45 pm

If you ride from Tompkinsville to St. George (or vice versa), do you now pay two fares? (Fares at St George are charged for both entry and exit.)

Benjamin Kabak January 19, 2010 - 1:47 pm

Nope. Here’s what the MTA says. I’m not 100 percent sure what this means but no two fares between Tompkinsville and St. George or vice versa:

The MetroCard Automated Fare Collection (AFC) software has been modified so that customers boarding and paying at Tompkinsville can ride the one stop to St. George and swipe out, but they will still have their free transfer to use on a subway or bus when they reach Manhattan

Alon Levy January 19, 2010 - 3:47 pm

Surely proof of payment would be cheaper to implement…

Avi January 19, 2010 - 7:27 pm

Not really. You’d have to design a new system and print tickets, then have a separate swipe system to handle those tickets. The MTA basically implemented all of that within the existing metro-card framework. All it took was some developers time to reprogram the system.

Alon Levy January 19, 2010 - 11:22 pm

The separate swipe system already exists on the Bronx SBS. It’s nothing new.

At Tompkinsville, the first fare-beating charge :: Second Ave. Sagas | A New York City Subway Blog February 5, 2010 - 3:30 pm

[…] the end of January, the MTA had instituted fare collections at the Staten Island Rail Road’s Tompkinsville, and this week, cops nabbed their first […]

At Tompkinsville, a low fare evasion total :: Second Ave. Sagas December 13, 2010 - 1:36 pm

[…] $700,000 annually and cut into the SIR’s $3.4 million operating loss. That fare collection started in January, and it has so far been a guarded […]


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