A few days ago this particular New Yorker surprisingly witnessed a teenager hop over the turnstile in a train station and make his way onto platform right in front of three uniformed police officers who could seemingly care less about the MTA missing out on that $2.75 and continued on with their conversation (where were these kind of police when I was growing up?!).
For a while now, fare evasion has become a big problem for the MTA and the Gothamist is reporting that with subway ridership still down and fare evasion going up, the higher ups at the MTA are looking to take measures to tackle both problems in the coming future. On Tuesday (April 26) announced that they’d be creating a “blue ribbon” panel dubbed “Fareness” to look at how they can cut down on fare evasion which according to MTA Chairman Janno Lieber is responsible for a “$500 million shortfall.”
“Pervasive fare evasion is a threat to the spirit that makes New York not just a great city, but a great community,” Lieber said Tuesday, addressing a group of business and civic leaders at a breakfast meeting. “The transit system is our most important public space. It may not remind you of a church, a mosque or a synagogue, but I kinda think the transit system is a sacred space.”
Real talk, people hopping train turnstiles and pulling open those big magnetic doors to avoid paying train fares kinda of aligns with the spirit of New York too. Just sayin.’
While many would fear that any actions would more than likely lead to kids from the block being unfairly targeted in some capacity or even being punished excessively for not having the funds to even pay for a metro card, Janno says that will not be the case.
“I’m especially not interested in targeting kids who need a second chance, kids make mistakes,” Lieber said. “I grew up in New York in the 70s, there were a lot of us kids who made mistakes.”
Hoping to avoid getting actual police getting involved in his plans to crackdown on fare evaders, Lieber is hoping to institute some non-police monitors who can issue tickets to citizens who get caught hopping turnstiles and whatnot a la meter maids. Sounds like a promising idea though y’all know it may become a semi-dangerous job with these rowdy New Yorkers who don’t even listen to actual authorities. Just sayin.’
As for who’ll be making up the Blue Ribbon panel known as “Fareness,” it will actually be a pretty diverse group of people for different backgrounds including the likes of “New York City Schools Chancellor David C. Banks, who was once a school safety officer, as well as the president and CEO of the Community Service Society David Jones. Jones, an MTA board member, has criticized previous MTA and NYPD efforts at cracking down on fare evasion in the past for targeting Black and brown New Yorkers.”
“Other panel members include the vice president and general counsel of Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, Michael Hardy; Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, chief operating officer of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy & Research at NYU; former NYPD deputy commissioner Zach Tumin; and Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the Asian American Federation.”
The “Fareness” panel is expected to get to work this Fall.