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Report: MTA Finds Turnstile Jumpers Saving Money

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NYPD officers watch a turnstile in the Times Square subway station July 21, 2005. (credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

NYPD officers watch a turnstile in the Times Square subway station July 21, 2005. (credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The old saying “crime doesn’t pay” apparently doesn’t apply to fare evaders in New York City subways.

Analysts with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority found that turnstile-jumpers made it onto subways 18.5 million times in 2009, but police only issued 120,000 summonses that year, the Daily News reports.

Analysts found fare evaders receive a $100 per infraction fine only every one to three months. So if fined in one month, they end up paying less than they would for a $104 monthly MetroCard.

The savings are even greater considering that weekly unlimited MetroCards cost $29. After the fine, turnstile jumpers would save eight dollars in one month, $132 in two months, and $348 in three.

In the agency’s “NY MTA Annual Disclosure,” the MTA cited a drop in fare evasion from a peak of 5.9 percent in 1991 to 1.3 percent last year, but fare-evasion continues to cut into revenue public transportation revenue in the Big Apple.

The number of trains being placed into service is also being cut. Straphangers can expect about two fewer trains running per hour on the 1 and 6 lines, and depending on the crowds, the net result could lead to more crowded trains and slightly longer waits on the platform. The summer change was not a popular one.

“This is the one I depend on to get to work, so I wish they would go back to the way it was,” Manhattan resident Renee Black told CBS 2’s Jay Dow on July 15.

MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz downplayed the net effect of the service cuts, telling Dow: “These are seasonal adjustments we’ve made based on declining ridership resulting from summer vacations and are similar to the seasonal adjustments we have been making along certain bus routes.”

MTA officials added the service cuts also allow the system to use less energy this summer, which in turn will allow the already cash strapped agency to operate more cost-effectively.

Given this fare evasion situation, should the MTA cut fares? Sound off in our comments section below…

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