Transit Implements Control Tactics to Combat Fare Evasion

Posted on September 24, 2012 by Nicole Schlosser, Senior Editor

Page 1 of 3

In June, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) upped its estimate of what it loses in revenue each year from bus fare evasion from $14 million to $50 million and may increase police enforcement. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) recently discovered that riders are often not tapping fare cards and moving ahead through the turnstiles without paying. An age-old problem, fare evasion prompts an ongoing struggle to stay ahead of people who are trying to beat the system, says Kim Green, president, GFI Genfare.

Evasion tactics
The most common fare evasion method, says Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), is piggy-backing or tailgating: following somebody who has paid the fare through the gates.

Other fare evasion tactics MBTA has encountered include jumping on the gates and climbing over them; pulling the gates apart; forcing them open and squeezing through, which often damages the gates; and blocking the outgoing sensor, causing the fare gate to open so people can slip through.

Assessment challenges
What complicates the problem is that fare evasion is difficult to assess through data, since there’s not a reliable metric to adequately determine if you have a good fare evasion rate, Green adds.

“Does your [rate] look good if it’s based on total ridership divided by the number of people you issue citations to?” Green asks. “If that’s the case, all you have to do to have a low fare evasion rate is put one inspector on [one out of] your 200 trains. You haul 200,000 people, issue three citations a day. It will look like you had no fare evasion, but there are a lot of people on those other 199 trains that are riding for free. You just don’t know it.”

Green adds that there are also jurisdiction issues with proof of payment. Many cities treat fare violation the same way they handle unpaid parking tickets, which brings up the question of how to make them pay the fine.

“Let’s assume you catch an offender,” he explains. “What do you do with them? Across the nation they have all kinds of different laws, and some of the fines can be really high.”

Proof of payment generally is based on the honor system and overall works well for most transit systems, Green says. There may be occasional fluctuations in compliance rates because of increased ridership, but most people are honest and pay their fares. “There always has been debate about how much to spend and what kind of a system to [use] to make sure you get most of the people to pay most of the time,” Green says.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Fla.'s JTA sets launch date for new BRT service

The 9.4 mile Green Line on the North Corridor will feature direct, high-frequency service; 18 branded stations; complimentary Wi-Fi, a Park-n-Ride lot, and real-time bus arrival information.

Canadian bus service to block Internet streaming

Some customers have reported slow internet service, while others couldn't connect at al, due to Internet streaming issues.

Nova Bus names new east coast regional sales manager

Prior to joinging Nova, John Manzi served as eastern regional transit sales manager for a major transmission manufacturer.

Shuttle, circulator routes drawing thousands of riders in Miami

These services carried more than eight million passengers last year in 27 municipalities and are praised by riders and public officials alike as successful transit programs.

Calif.'s VVTA unveils Google trip planner update, web app

VVTA staff coordinated with the county and cities to maintain route and stop accuracy throughout the release cycle. Meeting the needs of the many departments at each agency added to the complexity of the project.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment



Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close