New York City transit fares

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MetroCard Vending Machine (MVM)

The fares for services operated under the brands of MTA Regional Bus (New York City Bus, MTA Bus), New York City Subway (NYC Subway), Staten Island Railway (SIR), PATH, Roosevelt Island Tramway, AirTrain JFK, NYC Ferry, and the suburban bus operators Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) and Westchester County Bee-Line System (Bee-Line) are listed below.

Current fares

On all modes of transport except for NYC Ferry, all fare payments must be made using MetroCard or coins (excluding half-dollars and pennies).[1] Both MetroCard and SmartLink are accepted on PATH; however, SmartLink cannot be used on any other transit system in New York City.

NYC Ferry fares are paid using physical or digital tickets, which are not compatible with the MetroCard,[2] or with any of the city's other modes of transport.[3]

Base fares

All fares are in US dollars. Except for NYC Ferry, kids under 44" tall ride for free with fare-paying rider; limit is 3.

MTA Bus/NYC Bus: Local, Limited-Stop, Select Bus Service,
Bee-Line (except BxM4C bus), NICE, PATH
NYC Subway, SIR, Roosevelt Island Tramway
Express buses
(MTA and
Academy bus X23/X24)
BxM4C bus[4] Student MetroCard[5] NYC Ferry[6] AirTrain JFK[7] Access-A-Ride
(NYC paratransit)
Able-Ride[8]
(Nassau County
paratransit)
Full Reduced Full Reduced
(off-peak)
Full Reduced
(off-peak)
Full Half-
fare
NICE[8]
$2.75[9]
  • $3.00 for a Single-Ride MetroCard ticket[9]
  • $2.75 for a PATH SingleRide Ticket[10]
  • $2.75 for NICE when paying in coins[8]
$1.35[9]
  • $1.25 for NICE when
    paying in coins [8]
  • $1 for PATH by using
    Senior SmartLink Card.[10]
$6.50 [9] $3.25 [9] $7.50 $3.75 Free $1.25 $2.25 $2.75
($3.75 for cyclists with bikes)
$5 $2.75 $3.75
($75 for a book of 20 tickets)
Transfer restrictions:
  • All transfers are valid for 2 hours .[11][12][13]
  • MetroCard transfers are good for one connecting trip on any other NYC Bus/MTA Bus: local, limited-stops, Select Bus Service or express bus services; NYC Subway, Bee-Line, NICE or Roosevelt Island Tramway (restrictions apply).[11][12] Exceptions:
    • Two transfers are available with MetroCard at several places. The transfers must be made within two hours in order or in reverse order.
      1. Between Staten Island bus routes crossing the Staten Island Railway, through St. George Ferry Terminal, and then any NYCT local bus or NYC Subway service below Fulton Street in Lower Manhattan.[14]
      2. Between the B61, the B62, and any bus route connecting with either the B62 or B61 (but not both).[15]
      3. Between the Q29, the Q33, and the Q72 to LaGuardia Airport only.[16]
      4. Between the S59 or S78, the S79 SBS, and any connecting bus or subway route in Brooklyn.[16]
      5. Between the n20G, the n20H or n21, and then any connecting bus route.
  • Transfers with nickels, dimes, or quarters are usually good for use on one connecting local bus route.[11]
  • Customers transferring to suburban buses from another system with a lower base fare must pay the difference between the fare on the first bus and the fare on the second bus.
  • No free transfer between PATH and NYCTA operations.[10]
  • PATH does not accept reduced fare MetroCard.[10]
  • Staten Island Railway fares are collected at St. George and Tompkinsville stations (in both directions).[14]
  • No free transfer between NYC Ferry and any other operations.[6]

Unlimited-ride fares

All fares are in US dollars. There is a $1 purchase fee for all new MetroCard purchases within the subway system or at railroad stations (except for expiring or damaged MetroCards or MetroCards bought as part of a UniTicket).[17]

7-Day Unlimited[18] 30-Day Unlimited[19] 7-Day Express Bus Plus[20] 10-Trip AirTrain JFK[7][21] 30-Day AirTrain JFK[7][21] Monthly NYC Ferry[6]
Full fare
$32
$121
$59.50
$25
$40
$121

($141 for cyclists with bikes)

Reduced fare
$16.00
$60.50
Notes:
  • The 7 Day Express Bus Plus MetroCard is the only Unlimited-Ride MetroCard accepted on Academy Bus Routes X23/X24 and MTA express buses.
  • The 30-Day AirTrain JFK MetroCard is the only Unlimited-Ride MetroCard accepted on AirTrain JFK. This MetroCard is not valid on any other services.
  • No Unlimited MetroCards are accepted on the BxM4C and PATH trains.[4][10]

Transfers

MetroCard

All transfers with MetroCard are free from bus to subway, local bus to local bus, and subway to local bus. For transfers to express buses from local buses (except for the BxM4C), an additional US$3.75 is deducted from a Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard.[22] With coins, transfers are available to different local buses only, with some restrictions. All transfers are good for two hours. Transfers are available upon request when boarding only.[11][12][13]

SingleRide tickets are valid for one ride within two hours after purchase on local buses and the subway. One bus-to-bus transfer is allowed;[23] however, transfer between buses and subways in either direction are not allowed.[24]

On the Select Bus Service routes except S79, customers paying with coins requiring a transfer must board via the front door and request a transfer from the operator. All other customers may board via any of the three doors on Select Bus Service buses.[25]

Bee-Line customers needing to transfer to Connecticut Transit (I-Bus and route 11),[26] Transport of Rockland (Tappan ZEExpress),[27] Putnam Transit (PART 2),[28] or Housatonic Area Regional Transit (Ridgefield-Katonah Shuttle)[29] services must ask for a transfer, even if paying with MetroCard. The BxM4C does not accept paper or MetroCard transfers, but it does issue transfers to/from other buses and the subway.[4] There are no transfers to the BxM4C, but one may transfer from the BxM4C.[4]

NICE customers needing to transfer to City of Long Beach N69, Suffolk County Transit, or Huntington Area Rapid Transit[30] services must ask for a transfer, even if paying with MetroCard.

NYC Ferry

As NYC Ferry uses a separate fare payment system from the rest of New York City's transportation system, it does not provide any free transfers to any other modes of transportation. However, passengers can request one free transfer to a connecting NYC Ferry route, valid within 90 minutes of the passenger boarding the first route. Tickets are checked when the boat arrives at the station.[6][3]

Transfer restrictions

There are restrictions on transfers, as noted below:


Subway

Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard holders cannot make subway-to-subway transfers by exiting the turnstile and entering again. The sole exception of a transfer between Lexington Avenue/59th Street on the IRT Lexington Avenue and BMT Broadway Lines and Lexington Avenue/63rd Street on the IND 63rd Street Line.[31] Until 2011, an extra out-of-system subway-to-subway transfer was allowed between 23rd Street–Ely Avenue/Long Island City–Court Square on the IND Queens Boulevard and Crosstown Lines and 45th Road–Court House Square on the IRT Flushing Line. This transfer was eliminated with the opening of an in-system transfer passageway among the three stations.[32]

Additional exceptions may be added on a case by case basis, usually due to construction's making a regular transfer unavailable.

Bus

For Pay-per-Ride customers, there is no free transfer back onto the same route on which the fare was initially paid, or between the following buses:[33]

  • Manhattan:
    • M1, M2, M3, M4: No transfer between uptown Madison Avenue and downtown 5 Avenue buses.
    • M31 and M57: No transfer between eastbound and westbound buses along 57 Street. Transfers are available between buses travelling in the same direction, however.
    • M96 and M106: No transfer between eastbound and westbound buses along 96 Street, even between buses travelling in the same direction.
    • M101, M102, M103: No transfer between uptown 3rd Avenue and downtown Lexington Avenue buses.
  • The Bronx:
    • Bx1 and Bx2: No transfer between southbound and northbound buses on the Grand Concourse.
    • Bx40 and Bx42: No transfer between eastbound and westbound buses along Tremont Avenue.
  • Nassau:
    • No transfers between bus routes that are not listed on the timetable of the route on which fare was paid. In essence, one cannot transfer between bus routes that do not intersect.[12]
  • Express:
    • No transfers from any route to the BxM4C, even with a Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard. Transfers are valid, however, from the BxM4C.[4]
    • No transfers between a Manhattan bound QM1 and a Queens bound QM5 or QM6 bus or vice versa. In essence, one can only transfer between the QM1, QM5, and QM6 if the bus is traveling in the same general direction.
    • No transfers between a Manhattan bound QM5 and a Queens bound QM1 or QM6 bus or vice versa. In essence, one can only transfer between the QM1, QM5, and QM6 if the bus is traveling in the same general direction.
    • No transfers between a Manhattan bound QM6 and a Queens bound QM1 or QM5 bus or vice versa. In essence, one can only transfer between the QM1, QM5, and QM6 if the bus is traveling in the same general direction.
Subway-to-bus

There are no subway-to-bus or bus-to-subway transfers without a MetroCard allowed, with one exception:


Fare history

Below are the fares charged for single boardings on the transit lines and predecessors of the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA). Different combinations of transfer privileges and the abolition of double fares to the Rockaways have altered these fares from time to time. Since July 4, 1997, massively increased transfer privileges and pass discounts have lowered the average real fare significantly.[34] According to MTA figures, only 2.1% of rides are single-ride fares.[35]

Subway and local buses

  • $0.05 (1904[36] – July 1, 1948[36])
  • $0.10 (July 1, 1948[36] – July 1, 1953[37])
    • Bus fare: $0.07 from 1948[36] until 1950 and $0.10 from 1950 til 1953
  • $0.15 (July 2, 1953[37] – July 5, 1966[38])
    • Bus fare: $0.13 from 1954 til 1955 and $0.15 from 1956 til 1966; 5th Avenue Bus line fare raised to 15 cents on January 1, 1954
  • $0.20 (July 5, 1966[38] – January 3, 1970[39])
  • $0.30 (January 4, 1970[39] – December 31, 1971[40])
  • $0.35 (January 1, 1972[40] – August 31, 1975[41] (MSBA/Long Island Bus from 1973)[42]
    In December 1973, the MTA started trialing a program in which passengers could pay a single one-way fare to take round trips on the subway, buses, and railroads on Sundays.[43] Since this resulted in higher ridership, the MTA extended it through the beginning of 1975.[44]
  • $0.50 (September 2, 1975[41] – June 27, 1980[45])
  • $0.60 (June 28, 1980[45] – July 2, 1981[46])
  • $0.75 (July 3, 1981[46] – January 1, 1984[47])
  • $0.90 (January 2, 1984[47] – December 31, 1985[48])
  • $1.00 (January 1, 1986[48] – December 31, 1989[49])
  • $1.15 (January 1, 1990[49] – December 31, 1991[50])
  • $1.25 (January 1, 1992[50] – November 11, 1995[51])
  • $1.50 (November 12, 1995[51] – May 3, 2003[52][53])
  • $2.00 (May 4, 2003[52][53] – June 27, 2009[54])
  • $2.25 (June 28, 2009[54] – December 29, 2010[55])
  • $2.25 base fare (December 30, 2010[55] – March 2, 2013[56])
    • $2.50 SingleRide MetroCard ticket fare[55]
  • $2.50 base fare (March 3, 2013[56] – March 21, 2015[57][58])
    • $2.75 SingleRide MetroCard ticket fare[56]
  • $2.75 base fare (March 22, 2015 – present)[57][58]
    • $3.00 SingleRide MetroCard ticket fare[57][58]

Express bus base fare

  • $1.50 (1975 - June 27, 1980)[45]
  • $2.00 (June 28, 1980 - ?)[45]
  • $3.00 (? - December 31, 1985)
  • $3.50 (January 1, 1986 – December 31, 1989)
  • $4.00 (January 1, 1990 – February 28, 1998)
  • $3.00 (March 1, 1998 – May 3, 2003)[59]
  • $4.00 (May 4, 2003 – February 26, 2005)[53]
  • $5.00 (February 27, 2005 – December 29, 2010)[60]
  • $5.50 (December 30, 2010 – March 2, 2013)[55]
  • $6.00 (March 3, 2013 – March 21, 2015)[56]
  • $6.50 (March 22, 2015 – present)[57][58]

Fare collection history

Token and change

NYCTA tokens; usage dates from left to right: 1953–1970; 1970–1980; 1979–1980; 1980–1986; 1986–1995; 1995–2003

From the inauguration of IRT subway services in 1904[61] until the unified system of 1948 (including predecessor BMT and IND subway services), the fare for a ride on the subway of any length was 5 cents ($.05 in 1904 equivalent to $1.36 in 2017; $.05 in 1948 equivalent to $0.51 in 2017). On July 1, 1948, the fare was increased to 10 cents (equivalent to $1.02 in 2017), and since then has steadily risen.[62] When the New York City Transit Authority was created in July 1953, the fare was raised to 15 cents (equivalent to $1.37 in 2017) and a token was issued.[63]

The tokens were changed periodically as prices changed. The first token change occurred in 1970 when the fare was raised to 30 cents.[64] The token did not always change with the fare: in 1972, when the fare increased from 30 to 35 cents, the MTA simply raised the prices of existing tokens[40] (although a change in token size had been mulled[65]). Another fare rise in 1980, which brought the fare from 50 to 60 cents, did result in the issuance of smaller tokens.[66]

For the 75th anniversary of the subway in 1979 (also called the Diamond Jubilee), a special token with a small off-center diamond cutout and engraved images of a 1904 subway car and kiosk were issued. Many were purchased for keepsakes and were not used for rides.[67] New versions of tokens were issued in 1980,[45] 1986,[48] and 1995.[51] The last iteration of tokens, which started circulating in 1995, featured a hole in the middle and were called the "Five Borough Token".[34]

There were issues with the tokens, however. It was a common scam to circumvent the payment of fares by jamming the token slot in an entrance gate with paper. A passenger would insert a token into the turnstile, be frustrated when it did not open the gate, and have to spend another token to enter at another gate. A token thief would then suck the token from the jammed slot with their mouth. This could be repeated many times as long as no police officers spotted the activity. Some token booth attendants sprinkled chili powder in the slots to discourage "token sucking".[68] Token sucking (also known as stuff 'n' suck) was charged under theft of services, criminal tampering and criminal mischief.[69]

Token issues were compounded when transit riders discovered in the early 1980s that tokens purchased for use in the Connecticut Turnpike toll booths were of the same size and weight as New York City subway tokens. Since they cost less than one third as much, they began showing up in subway collection boxes regularly.[70] Connecticut authorities initially agreed to change the size of their tokens,[71] but later reneged and the problem went unsolved until 1985, when Connecticut discontinued the tolls on its turnpike.[72] At that time, the MTA was paid 17.5 cents for each of more than two million tokens that had been collected during the three-year "token war".[72]

Tokens were sold until April 13, 2003, when they were replaced with the MetroCard.[73][74] These tokens were phased out in 2003 when the fare rose to $2 (equivalent to $2.66 in 2017).[52][75]

MetroCard

On October 30, 1992, the installation of Automated Fare Collection turnstiles began.[76] On June 1, 1993, MTA distributed 3,000 MetroCards manufactured by Cubic Transportation Systems in the first major test of the technology for the entire subway system and the entire bus system.[77] Less than a year later, on January 6, 1994, MetroCard-compatible turnstiles opened at Wall Street on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line (4 and ​5 trains) and Whitehall Street – South Ferry on the BMT Broadway Line (N, ​R, and ​W trains).[52] All MetroCard turnstiles were installed by May 14, 1997, when the entire bus and subway system accepted MetroCard.[76] On September 28, 1995, buses on Staten Island started accepting MetroCard, and by the end of 1995, MetroCard was accepted on all New York City Transit buses.[76]

Before 1997, the MetroCard design was blue with yellow lettering. These blue cards are now collector's items.[78] On July 4, 1997, the first free transfers were made available between bus and subway at any location with MetroCard. This program was originally billed as "MetroCard Gold". Card colors changed to the current blue lettering on goldenrod background.[76] The first MetroCard Vending Machines (MVMs) were installed on January 25, 1999 in two stations,[79] and by the end of 1999 347 MVMs were in service at 74 stations.[52] On April 13, 2003, tokens were no longer sold.[73][74] Starting May 4, 2003, tokens were no longer accepted, except on buses.[80][81][82]

Two pilot programs were introduced to find a replacement to the MetroCard a few years after it was implemented. In the first, introduced in early 2006, the MTA signed a deal with MasterCard to test out a new RFID card payment scheme.[83][84] Originally scheduled to end in December 2006, the trial was extended into 2007 due to "overwhelming positive response".[85] In light of the success of the first PayPass pilot project in 2006, another trial was started by the MTA. This one started on June 1, 2010, and ended on November 30, 2010. The first two months started with the customer just using the MasterCard PayPass debit or credit card.[86][87][88][89] However, this trial was the debut of having a rider use the VISA PayWave debit or credit card to enter the system, which started on August 1, 2010.[90] For six months, a rider could use either a MasterCard Paypass or VISA PayWave credit/debit card to pay for a fare on an expanded list of subway and bus routes.[91][92]

Replacement

In October 2017, the MTA started installing eTix-compatible electronic ticketing turnstiles in 14 stations in Manhattan. The eTix system, already used on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad, allows passengers to pay their fares using their phones. The system would originally be for MTA employees only.[93] On October 23, 2017, it was announced that the MetroCard would be phased out and replaced by a contactless fare payment system also by Cubic, with fare payment being made using Apple Pay, Google Wallet, debit/credit cards with near-field communication enabled, or radio-frequency identification cards.[94][95] The October 23 announcement calls for the expansion of this system to a general-use electronic fare payment system at 500 subway turnstiles and 600 buses by late 2018, with all buses and subway stations using electronic fare collection by 2020. However, support of the MetroCard is slated to remain until 2023.[95] The unnamed replacement fare system has been criticized because the new turnstiles could be hacked, thereby leaving credit card and phone information vulnerable to theft.[96]

Fare evasion

Turnstiles

The New York City Subway has four basic types of fare control equipment: low turnstiles (including agent-operated special entry turnstiles, SETs), high entrance-exit turnstiles (HEETs), high exit turnstiles (HXTs), and gates (including emergency exit gates (EXG), agent-operated gates (AOG), and Autonomous Farecard Access System (AFAS) gates for wheelchair access). Passengers enter the subway by swiping farecards to unlock the turnstiles. Typical control areas feature low turnstiles, one or more EXGs, and a token booth. Unstaffed entrances that were remodeled before the late 2000s featured only HEETs and EXGs. Exit-only locations have only HXTs and EXGs. All control areas must have at least one EXG, as per State emergency regulations.[97]

Systemwide EXG installations since 2006 introduced a weakness into otherwise secure AFC systems. Gates were originally only unlocked via booths' buzzers or employees’ keys. After London Underground’s 2005 terrorism attacks, fire codes required “panic bars”, allowing each gate to be opened from the paid side, expediting emergency evacuation. While a loud, piercing, and warbling alarm sounds whenever EXGs are opened, general public took to using gates for exiting (substantially reducing queues), especially at unstaffed locations.[98] It happened so often that in January 2015, the MTA silenced all exit alarms.[99]

Per MTA fare tariff, exceptions to normal turnstile operations abound. Children under 44 inches (110 cm) (turnstile machines’ top height) must crawl under when entering with fare-paying adults (not permissible when travelling alone). Those with bulk items (bicycles, strollers, packages) must request station agent witness their swiping farecard, rotating turnstile without entering, then enter through an AOG with their items. Passengers with paper half-fare or “block” tickets must relinquish them to the agent and enter through a SET. School groups traveling with authorization letters may be admitted through an AOG.

An added complication is several unofficial system entry methods resulting in no revenue loss but forbidden by tariff are frequently practiced. At unstaffed locations, fellow passengers often open EXGs for entry by customers with bulk packages after witnessing them rotate turnstiles without entering. Children often squeeze through HEETs with paying adults (if under 44”, no revenue loss occurs). At token booths, agents often admit passengers through an AOG or SET for operational reasons. Police in uniform, construction workers, contractors in safety vests, employees, and concession vendors often enter with keys or agent’s permission. Police officers or station agents sometimes allow student groups to enter through gates.

History

New York City’s transit system in the 1970s was in disarray. Subway ridership was spiraling downwards, while private express buses mushroomed, exacerbating Transit Authority’s (TA) problems. Crime was rampant; derailments, fires, breakdowns, and assaults were commonplace. Trains and stations were covered in graffiti. Passengers were actually afraid to ride the subway. To attract passengers, TA even introduced a premium fare “Train to the Plane” – staffed by a Transit police officer at all times. Comparatively, fare evasion seemed a small problem. However, fare evasion was causing the TA to lose revenue.[100]

TA’s strategy for restoring riders’ confidence took a two-pronged approach. In 1981, MTA’s first capital program started system’s physical restoration to a State-of-Good-Repair. Improving TA’s image in riders’ minds is as important as overcoming deferred maintenance. Prompt removal of graffiti and prevention of blatant fare evasion would become central pillars of the strategy to assure customers that the subway is “fast, clean, and safe”.[101][102] The graffiti came off the last subway cars in 1989.[103]

Similarly, fare evasion was taken seriously. The TA began formally measuring evasion in November 1988. When TA’s Fare Abuse Task Force (FATF) was convened in January 1989, evasion was 3.9%. After a 15-cent fare increase to $1.15 in August 1990, a record 231,937 people per day, or 6.9%, didn’t pay. This continued through 1991.[104]

To combat the mounting problem, FATF designated 305 “target stations” with most evaders for intensive enforcement and monitoring. Teams of uniformed and undercover police officers randomly conducted “mini-sweeps”, swarming and arresting groups of evaders.[105] Special “mobile booking centers” in converted citybuses allowed fast-track offender processing.[106] Fare abuse agents covered turnstiles in shifts and issued citations. Plainclothes surveyors collected data for five hours per week at target locations, predominantly during morning peak hours. Finally, in 1992, evasion began to show a steady and remarkable decline, dropping to about 2.7% in 1994.[107]

The dramatic decrease in evasion during this period coincided with a reinvigorated Transit Police, a 25% expansion of City police, and a general drop in crime in U.S. cities. In the city, crime rate decline begun in 1991 under Mayor David Dinkins and continued through next two decades under Mayors Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg. Some observers credited the “broken windows” approach of law enforcement[108] where minor crimes like evasion are routinely prosecuted, and statistical crimefighting tools, whereas others have indicated different reasons for crime reduction.[109][110] Regardless of causality, evasion checks resulted in many arrests for outstanding warrants or weapons charges, likely contributing somewhat to public safety improvements. Arrests weren’t the only way to combat evasions, and by the early 1990s NYCTA was examining methods to improve fare control passenger throughputs, reduce fare collection costs, and maintain control over evasions and general grime. The AFC system was being designed, and evasion-preventing capability was a key consideration.

TA’s queuing studies concluded that purchasing tokens from clerks was not efficient. Preventing ‘slug’ use required sophisticated measures like tokens with metal alloy centers and electronic token verification devices. To provide better access control, the NYCTA experimented with floor-to-ceiling gates and “high wheel” turnstiles. Prototypes installed at 110th Street/Lexington Avenue station during a “target hardening” trial reduced evasions compared to nearby “control” stations.[111] However, controls consisting entirely of “high-wheels” created draconian, prison-like environments, with detrimental effects on station aesthetics. Compromises with more secure low-turnstile designs were difficult, as AFC did not prevent fare evasion.[112]

Production Automated Fare Collection (AFC) implementation began on January 6, 1994.[34] New turnstiles, including unstaffed high wheels, and floor-to-ceiling service gates, featured lessons learned from trials. As AFC equipment was rolled out, evasion plummeted. Fare abuse agents, together with independent monitoring, were eliminated.

Station agents

The MTA had tried to reduce station agent positions since full MetroCard vending machine (MVM) deployment in 1997.[34] Agents, whose primary responsibility was selling tokens, now sell MetroCards. However, AFC eliminated long token booth queues, so fewer clerks were needed. Passengers now interact with agents only for requests like mutilated farecards, concessionary fares, or travel directions. Clerks were not cross-trained for AFC maintenance; that function was assigned to turnstile maintainers. The MTA determined that each station required only one full-time booth, serving dominant (or both) travel directions. Some booths were removed altogether because it was felt that MVMs would be sufficient.[113]

Some thought the station destaffing plan would lead to potential evasion increases, and consequently more general crime. The original FATF (1988–1997) was reconvened in 2009 to review trends and coordinate mitigation strategies between MTA and New York City Police Department (NYPD)’s Transit Bureau. Further confusing the issue, agents themselves historically provided evasion counts in their normal course of duty.[113]

Decision to eliminate agents turned out controversial with both riding public and elected officials. Representatives were concerned about constituents’ jobs, whereas riders were concerned about susceptibility to crime.[114]

A 2004 compromise converted low-volume booths to high-wheels, high-volume booths to part-time entrances called “kiosks” (51) staffed by Station Customer Assistants (SCAs). Affectionately called “burgundy jackets”, SCAs do not sell farecards, instead they walk around solving customers issues, including fare machine usage.

Agents' presence in the stations is disputed. A civil suit concerning the 2005 sexual assault at 21st Street station, which occurred despite alarm having been raised by the agent.[115] However, an agent saved a life in Cathedral Parkway–110th Street in 2010.[116]

The 2009 fiscal crisis necessitated more agent reductions, leaving only one 24-hour booth per station complex. Planned attrition program was converted to layoffs when fiscal situation deteriorated further in 2010.

Prevention techniques

Configuration

In studies, gate evasion rate was found to be 1.5% unlocked, and only 0.8% when locked. Interestingly, unlocked gates also invite more “questionable” entries; rate was 1.8% unlocked, but only 0.9% locked. Keeping gates locked potentially halves gate-related evasions. Following this finding, MTA reinstructed station supervisors and agents on importance and revenue impacts of keeping gates locked. Questionable gate entries decreased from 1.5% to 0.4% following this change, but illegal gate entries did not show statistically significant decrease when seasonality effects were accounted for. This measure seems to target mostly casual evasions.

Originally fare control hardware and staff presence was thought to affect evasions. Unstaffed HEETs (with emergency exits), a generally unsupervised environment, might invite rampant evasions. However, pilot studies indicated these locations had similar gate evasions (0.9%) to staffed locations (1.0%). At least in New York, agents do not seem to deter evaders. Unsupervised HEETs had similar turnstile evasions (1.2%) to staffed locations (1.0%). Unsupervised exit-only locations have lower gate evasions (0.6%) than elsewhere, suggesting evasion is a crime of opportunity. Exit-only gates are only opened when trains arrive and passengers open them from the paid side; evaders likely find it more time-efficient to evade through entrances. Only the most determined evaders would wait at exit-only locations for others to exit, to enter.

Passenger height

Passengers may be unaware of height guidelines determining when children must begin to pay, which were posted at booths that many customers no longer use.[117][118] Prototype signs are being tested near turnstiles at the Bowling Green station, and a sign also exists at the 81st Street–Museum of Natural History station.[citation needed]

Vandalism

MVM vandalism costs MTA both in lost revenues and repair expenses. MTA provides MVM vandalism intelligence to NYPD, which utilizes hidden portable wireless digital video cameras in “sting” operations to gather evidence against organized fare abuse rings and identify leaders. These “professional swipers” can be difficult to apprehend because they are very mobile and require strategic and determined law enforcement efforts to monitor MVM vandalism patterns, prioritizing stations with the highest vandalism rates.

In years past, theft-of-service crimes were often dismissed with time served (several days in Riker's Island), but by working with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and Midtown Community Court, FATF achieved escalating sentences for recidivists. The coordinated efforts resulted in a five-swiper ring being disbanded and sentences of over one year being imposed. Measuring impacts of taking down fare abuse operations is difficult, because even large swiper rings ‘sell’ very few fares compared to natural day-to-day fluctuations of the 8.0 million riders on NYC’s system due to reasons like weather or special events.

Legal framework and enforcement

The most important evasion fighting tool is arguably comprehensive and functioning legal frameworks to deal with evaders and counterfeiters. MTA’s Rule of Conduct (62) has banned evasions since the 1980s, rules having been established mainly for arresting persons likely to commit other crimes (assault, graffiti). With appropriate legal framework, like traffic stops, evasion checks can be effective in identifying and arresting criminals wanted on outstanding warrants.

To round-up evaders, MTA fare inspectors continue to use the “surge” strategy first developed by Transit police. Renewed enforcement interests led to several high-profile cases. Swiss tourists with allegedly valid passes were ticketed for bumping turnstiles.[119] One passenger was arrested for exiting through an emergency gate, even though he was not evading a fare.[120][121]

Legal framework is more than prohibition of illegal acts and prescription of fines. Complete regulations should address issues like: arrests versus summonses; arresting/summons issuing powers; whether undercover enforcement is permitted; disputes/appeals process (e.g. “my monthly MetroCard isn’t working, so I went through the gate”); dealing with genuinely confused tourists (e.g. “I flashed my pass, so going through the gate is okay?”); required evidence for conviction (e.g. whether video evidence are admissible). New York allows certain non-police employees to issue evasion citations, and utilizes both uniformed and undercover police enforcement.

Evasion prevention hardware

Video recording equipment may deter criminal activity, including evasion. Cameras are widely deployed in modern Asian and European transit systems.

Like other US agencies, New York City Subway installed counter-terrorism cameras at key stations. PIDs[further explanation needed] cover fare controls from every conceivable angle with high fidelity video, positively identifying terror suspects. They also produce clear pictures of entering and exiting passengers, including evaders.

On Port Authority Trans-Hudson (and some New York City Subway stations), hidden rooms with half-silvered glass or surveillance portals are provided for covert police observation. Perpetrators are apprehended by police that suddenly appear from behind closed doors when illegal acts occur.

Fines

MTA’s $60 penalty was internally set by Transit Adjudication Bureau (TAB) with delegated powers.[122] NYCT increased fines to $100 in July 2008, the maximum TAB can levy without further approvals, to support conversion to Proof-of-Payment (POP) fare collection for the Select Bus Service.

Other preventative measures

There are also uniformed guards, undercover police officers, and ticket barriers to prevent fare evasion on the subway. On Select Bus Service, a penalty fare may need to be paid.

See also

  • Pizza Principle, the connection between single-ride fares and a slice of pizza in New York City

References

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