Well over 40 percent of all fare-jumpers are children taller than 44 inches who duck under turnstiles anyway, the MTA unveiled yesterday in an unofficial study. The Daily News has more, including some choice quotes from parents:
Kids taller than 44 inches – the height limit for a free ride – made up 43% of fare-beaters observed by NYC Transit surveyors last year, an agency staff report says. The “predominant mode of evasion is children over 44 inches ducking under turnstiles,” the report says.
The surveyors noted that a subway surveillance camera even spotted a young boy enter without paying – and then open an emergency exit gate from the inside so his stroller-pushing mother could also ride free. The lost revenue from the pint-size scofflaws is not small change. It costs the agency millions of dollars a year, the report says.
Some parents told the Daily News Tuesday they had no qualms about beating the system. “The MTA’s dumb. … As long as they don’t enforce it, we’ll keep doing it,” west Harlem mom Janet Carrion, 42, said. Carrion, who works as a baby-sitter, doesn’t pay for her own boys, ages 8 and 9, to ride the subway. “We pay for every little thing, and the fare is too expensive to begin with,” she said. “I don’t feel guilty.”
Store clerk Aricellis Maldonado, 28, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, never pays for her 9-year-old son, who is about 2 inches over the limit. “No one’s ever stopped me, and until they do, we’ll keep doing this,” Maldonado said.
I’m going to start trying that with my half-gallon of milk. I pay for everything else at the grocery store even though I think the prices are getting too high. I won’t feel guilty about stealing some milk. I hope Key Food agrees with me.
The News says that evasion rates peak at around 3 p.m. when kids get let out of school, and the MTA is considering placing signs near turnstiles to remind straphangers of the height restrictions. Currently, those are buried only on the MTA’s website. Meanwhile, other findings included 24 percent who walked through exit gates and 32 percent who engaged in good old fashioned turnstile jumping or went through with two riders on one swipe.
Of course, combatting these pint-sized fare-jumpers is a bit of a challenge. The MTA can’t start ticketing 10-year-olds, but all it would take are a few high-profile PR incidents to get parents to start swiping through. The captured revenue from fare jumpers wouldn’t be insignificant.