MTA Bus Fare Evaders Beware: $100 Fine Awaits

'Pay Before You Board' Now Norm On 'Select Bus Service' Lines

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Consider this a “fare warning” about a new way to pay for a bus ride.

If you fail to follow the rules you could face a $100 fine. So far, more than 10,000 bus riders have been busted.

CBS 2’s Tony Aiello caught up with the special team out looking for fare evaders.

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They are armed with ticket books — and they’re not afraid to use them. They are inspectors from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s so-called “eagle team.”

They swoop in to check for fare jumpers on the new “Select Bus Service” routes.

“Our goal is to get people to understand that this is not a free system; you have to pay,” said Vincent DeMarino, the MTA’s VP of security.

With a traditional bus you pay on board, causing jam-ups at the fare box. With Select Bus Service you must pay at a machine at the curb, collect a receipt and then enter the bus through any of the three doors.

“This way, people have all paid their fare before the bus comes. All three doors open, everyone gets off, everyone gets on and we can get buses out of a stop in less than a minute,” Select Bus Service director Ted Orosz said.

“Great, it’s faster to board, I like it,” one rider told Aiello.

To make sure riders paid, inspectors do spot checks asking for receipts.

“A $100 ticket? Yeah, not a fun thing,” one rider said.

Inspectors are writing a lot of those tickets — more than 14,000 since Select Bus Service debuted.

Some have complained that it’s a New York City ritual of to run up and jump on the bus just as it’s about to pull away, but  you can’t do that with Select Bus Service because if you haven’t stopped to get a receipt, you run the risk of getting a ticket.

But the MTA said inspectors have been cutting riders a lot of slack.

“Our people who use tremendous amounts of discretion, common sense and good judgment, just realize the person didn’t understand, made a mistake. We escort them off the bus,” DeMarino said.

The MTA said Select Bus Service is working so well it will soon expand to additional routes.

The MTA said rush hour travel times have improved by 20 percent on Select Bus Service routes in Manhattan and the Bronx.

Fair? Ridiculous? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Tony Aiello
  • kenny s

    My mother was stopped today. She had an unlimited pass and the machines were broken. She told the driver he let’s her on but when the authorities run up on the bus asking for tickets, he didn’t come to her defense. Now my mom has to go to criminal court to defend herself… WoW.

  • Abe

    1. Sunday morning in front of Sloan Kettering. Machine is out of paper. No receipt.
    2. Select and local stop on same block at 1st & 86th. Sloan Kettering local stop vs Select stop on separate blocks making it impossible for anyone but the most physically fit to choose the first bus that comes. Same thing at 116 & 115 St, too far apart.
    3. Impossible to see ticket machines at night.
    4. Why does a rider with a monthly metrocard need another ticket for Select?
    5. Why not put ticket machines INSIDE the bus?
    6. Tourists get totally confused.
    7. Bus either waits extra time until everyone prints tickets OR bus runs off while rider is waiting on slow printer.
    8. Since Select went into effect, frequency of local buses has gone down dramatically.
    9. No cover over the ticket machines in inclement weather.
    10. Sucks.

  • ElderlyStandee

    It’s an annoying system for honest riders; at least one machine is usually broken. Are they giving tickets to all the elementary & high school students who routinely board buses without paying, & frequently occupy 2 to 3 seats per “sudent”??

  • nathan

    throw the leeches in jail for a nite. Watch how fast ppl stop cheating.

  • JR

    People don’t like this system cause they can’t get over. It’s about time the MTA dealt with the fare beaters.

  • Rodinton G Bailee

    As usual the MTA is full of it. They create a system that fosters cheating, like when the machines are vandalized or wet down in the winter and frozen over. Then they hire 50-70 people at about $100,000 A YEAR INCLUDING BENEFITS WHO ARE MOSTLY RETIRED COPS, to give out summonses who revenue goes to the city. The real questions are why to the city not the MTA and how many of those summonses actually produce revenue? How many go in the garbage? wanna bet especially in the Bronx about 75%?

  • Xio

    So I suppose we are to believe that your daughter is exempt from the rules. It is very apparent she has not learned to follow the rules because you do not seem to understand them yourself. You are responsible for educating your daughter to be in compliance with the MTA rules and regulations as I have with my sons . Did you ever think your daughter just may have decided not to follow the rules. Why did she not find the receipt when the inspector initially stopped her? Perhaps because she never obtained one in the first place!

  • Mr. Armenia

    stop being cheap and pay the fares

  • uy

    the city of New York is a hoar when it comes to money. Bloomberg does not tell any city worker to use common sense or to use discretionary anything. We see this with tickets, stopping black people all day long, harrasing white people with other stuff. This city has lost it;s freaking discretion and mind. Everything is about money money and money. Bloomberg is a jerk.

    • ilvedanny05

      hoar? Learn to spell.

  • M Patis

    The individuals demonstrated absolutely zero discretion, common sense and good judgment in the case of my daughter, a high school senior with a free bus pass. She had obtained a receipt at the machine before boarding the bus but had misplaced it (it subsequently turned out to be at the bottom of her school bag). Despite the fact that she was able to show her bus pass, and despite the fact that she is not required to pay anyway, the schmucks still issued her with a $100 ticked. I guess picking on 17 year old school girls is easier than taking on the big guys.

    • Auburn Dale

      Passengers are supposed to KEEP the receipt AT THE READY while riding the bus, yet your daughter consciously chose not to. That rule was publicized at the start, yet people still pretend not to have heard about it. And yes, even MTA employees have been busted for not having receipts.

    • Aquafina McRib

      M Patis,

      Have u registered a complaint so that you may right this wrong?

    • Incredulous

      That is quite incredible. She had a receipt, but while waiting in the school rush hour crush she very carefully opened her school-bag and stuffed the receipt down to the very bottom? She was unable to read signs stating she had to display her receipt. What she actually did was ask one of her classmates to give her a receipt; they all board at the same time, & there are no names on the receipts! Happy granpa!

  • ratso

    Got nailed on NJT light rail by one of these inspectors. They dont play so people better be forwarned that you are taking a huge risk if you dont pay and try and skate the toll man.

    • Jim Fallen

      NJ Transit Hoboken, the rent a “ticket punch checker”
      Will write you ticket for $99.00
      to line the pockets of local court system and NJ Transit – rent a cop.

      When the real NJ Transit Cop, are hardly on the train, they hang out in their
      expense cop cars or hide at their local NJ Transit offices.

      Part of the NJ Transit Screw!

    • Jack


  • Auburn Dale

    One thing nobody wants to report (because it doesn’t make a good headline)… The $100 fine goes to the City’s general fund, not the MTA.

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  • KPMc

    Nice generic pic

    • beth

      Beyond ridiculous……boarded a bus in a hurry during a snow storm with a fully loaded metrocard and was hit with a $100 fine……..perhaps an option to pay on the bus as opposed to waiting for another bus so you can get a receipt first?….perhaps some major way to distinguish those buses from regular buses…….I had no idea I was boarding an express bus until I was already on it…….perhaps an opportunity to but a metrocard at the bus stop…..c’mon guys….we must be able to do better than this…..

      • JR

        the whole idea is to not pay on the bus duh.

      • AmericanCabbie

        I suppose Beth has trouble with the subways too. How do I know if it’s going uptown or downtown? Is is express or local? Is it the 1,2 or 3? LEARN TO READ.

      • Auburn Dale

        “perhaps some major way to distinguish those buses from regular buses…”

        Maybe the buses should have a special paint scheme. Maybe they should have some annoying blue flashing lights. Maybe they should have the words “Select Bus Service” in the destination signs. Maybe they should have separate stops from the regular buses. Oh, wait – they DO have all of the above.

  • KPMc

    Couldn’t possible take a pic of one of the new three-door Select Service buses so you used another meaningless generic pic?

  • owais

    I think its a great idea, if the machines wouldn’t fail so frequently.

  • KPMc

    Couldn’t possible take a pic of one of the new three-door Select Service buses so you used another meaningless generic pic? Don’t your reporters have phones/devices that take pictures?



  • Chad McCabe

    We dont need to so MUCH worry about those on select bus routes as we do the regular lines … people get on the bus all day long at almost every stop using the back door … it is OUT of control … and a big reason the fair hikes are happening … stop wasting money policing the wrong things and start paying attention to the ones that happen and effect our pockets …

    • Jack

      The reason why riding on the MTA is so expensive are the pensions and disablitly payments being made for long gone retired employees. Unless there is a bankruptcy filing, the MTA and public will never catch up.

      • Cosmo Monteleone

        old jack making his 10.00 an hour bashing the working person and unions maybe it’s so much because of mismanagement for decades,politicians that keep taking money from transit for their pet projects.How about overruns on capital projects who figures these out why are the contracts always underestimated. Maybe that should be looked into.How about Walders 5000.00 a month housing monies .I f your making big money like he is he should pay his own rent

      • Jack is a Troll

        You think its expensive? Compared to other cities with the population of NYC, its not that expensive. The reason it cost what it cost is that the price of running a transit system of this size. Stop bashing unions, troll.

  • Fordh22

    I ride the Bx12 bus every day – and I can count on one hand how many times the police checked passengers for receipts in a month (very few times)! They definitely don’t check during rush hour – when the bus is full to capacity, so what’s the point? Anyone can hop on that bus and ride for free – I’ve seen PLENTY of people do it!

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