NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – According to MTA officials, people skipping out on paying fares on city buses led to more than $128 million in lost revenue last year alone.
Now New York City Transit Authority President Andy Byford is calling for more police officers to patrol buses, reports CBS2’s Janelle Burrell.
Byford says they need police officers boarding to buses to make it clear that people cannot board a bus for free.
Up until now, their focus on busting fare evaders has been centered on MTA Select buses where riders need a paper receipt as proof of payment.
Since 2012, the MTA has been using so-called Eagle Teams, people who are usually retired police officers on board the buses to randomly check for receipts.
Officials say that has helped deter people from not paying. They have already issued more than 5,000 summonses so far this year.
But Byford says actual uniformed and plain clothes officers on board buses is what’s needed to stop people from not paying fares.
The MTA Transit chief says they plan to start with a small group of officers.
“It will not be a large unit, said NYPD Transit Chief Edward Delatorre. “I need more personnel but I heard the concerns of the board. We’ll measure the response results to see if we change behavior and gain more compliance on the buses.”
MTA officials have started putting Eagle Teams on regular MTA bus routes as well hoping for the same success.
The chief and Transit Authority president say they will take a look at the results of this pilot to decide what their next steps will be.