New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chair and CEO Janno Lieber announced the creation of a blue-ribbon panel, which will develop fresh approaches to reducing fare evasion across the entire MTA system of subways, buses, commuter rails, bridges, and tunnels.
Members of the “Fareness” panel will focus on innovative approaches to encourage fare payment through education, equity, and enforcement. The panel will also look at how technological, design, and personnel solutions can help limit fare evasion.
Farebox and toll revenue account for 50% of the MTA’s operating budget. In recent years, fare evasion has nearly tripled on the subway from about 3% to more than 12%. On buses, approximately one out of every three bus riders evade the fare. Fare evasion on bridge and tunnel crossings has also become an issue with an increase in fake and obscured license plates designed to evade tolling cameras.
“Our New York sense of fairness and community is violated when rule-abiding, honest folks — people who tap or swipe because they know it’s the right thing to do, even if it’s a stretch economically — see others dodging the fare,” said Lieber. “What hardworking, fare paying New Yorkers tell us, in a word, is that seeing fare evasion makes them feel like suckers. Fare evasion is a problem we need to solve together. That’s why I am convening a panel of distinguished New Yorkers to take a deep dive into the issue. The goal is to hit the reset button on how we approach fare evasion at the MTA and across government.”
The panel will review approaches that can combat fare evasion with a focus on three key areas: education, equity, and enforcement.