senate Bill S756

Increases maximum civil penalties authorized to be imposed for violations of the rules of the New York city transit authority

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 09 / Jan / 2013
    • REFERRED TO TRANSPORTATION
  • 05 / Mar / 2013
    • 1ST REPORT CAL.159
  • 06 / Mar / 2013
    • 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • 07 / Mar / 2013
    • ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • 22 / Apr / 2013
    • PASSED SENATE
  • 22 / Apr / 2013
    • DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • 22 / Apr / 2013
    • REFERRED TO CORPORATIONS, AUTHORITIES AND COMMISSIONS

Summary

Increases maximum civil penalties authorized to be imposed for violations of the rules of the New York city transit authority; provides that the notice of violation of any such rule shall be mailed by first class mail, rather than by registered or certified mail.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S756
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Assembly Corporations, Authorities And Commissions
Law Section:
Public Authorities Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §§1204 & 1209-a, Pub Auth L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2011-2012: S5870
2009-2010: S3618

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S756

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the public authorities law, in relation to the maximum civil
penalties and service by mail provisions of the transit adjudication
bureau of the New York city transit authority

PURPOSE:
This proposal increases the maximum allowable fine for
violations of New York City Transit's Rules of Conduct (the NYCT
Rules of Conduct) and for failure to appear at a scheduled Transit
Adjudication Board (TAB) hearing or not timely responding, and
authorizes service of various notices by first-class mail.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 of the bill would amend Public Authorities Law
("PAL") § 1204(5-a) to increase from $100 to $500 the
maximum civil fine for violation of NYCT's Rules of Conduct. Section
1 also authorizes TAB to increase from $50 to $100 the penalties for
those who violate NYCT's Rules of Conduct for failure to appear or
make a timely response before the TAB.

Section 2 of the bill would amend PAL § 1209-a(4)(b) to increase
civil penalties for transit infractions from $150 to $600 per
infraction.

Section 3 of the bill would amend PAL § 1209-a(7)(a) and (g) to
authorize service of notice of TAB hearing dates and orders, by first
class mail, rather than registered or certified mail.

Section 4 of the bill would amend PAL § 1209-a(8) to authorize service
of notices of TAB Appeals Board hearing dates by first-class mail,
rather than registered or certified mail.

Section 5 of the bill provides for an immediate effective date.

EXISTING LAW:
PAL §§ 1204.5-a and 1209-a(4)(b) limit the maximum fine for TAB
violations to $100, and up to an additional $50 in penalties when
respondents fail to adhere to required TAB procedures.

PAL §1209-a(5) requires that notices of violation of NYCT Rules of
Conduct be personally served. The pertinent provisions regarding
notices of TAB hearing dates, orders of adjournment, notices of
decisions and orders, and notices of appeals board appearances are
found in § 1209 a(7)(a), 7(g) and 8(d). Though all such notices are
strictly administrative, they must be sent by
registered or certified mail. By contrast, PAL § 1209-a(9)(c)
authorizes TAB to use first-class mail for notices of default and
notices of whether a judgment has been entered against a respondent.

JUSTIFICATION:
This bill will make Transit Adjudication Bureau (TAB) proceedings more
effective by increasing the deterrent effect of its sanctions and


easing the administrative and financial burden those proceedings
place on New York City Transit (NYCT).

TAB was established in 1984 to provide a civil alternative to the
Criminal Courts for the adjudication of infractions of NYCT's Rules
of Conduct. Since its inception, TAB has played a significant role in
reducing fare evasion, graffiti, disorderly conduct, littering, and
other unlawful activities that impact the safety, security and
comfort of NYCT riders. However, despite numerous fare increases and
an over 100 percent increase in the consumer price index between 1985
and 2007, the fine structure for violations of NYCT's Rules of
Conduct has remained unchanged since its inception.

This has hindered TAB's ability to provide an appropriate deterrent to
fare evasion. A recent report issued by the Metropolitan
Transportation Authority's (MTA) Subway Division estimated that 18.5
million people entered NYCT stations without paying in 2009, an
average of 50,684 a day. These fare evasions cost the MTA $31
million in revenue. Based on 2009 statistics, the Subway Division's
report estimated that a routine offender could expect to receive
citation once every six to 13 weeks, making it far more economical to
pay the $100 fine rather than the $162 cost to purchase six weekly
metro cards.

In order for NYCT's Rules of Conduct and TAB to provide an appropriate
deterrent effect, it is necessary to adjust the fine structure and
give the TAB the flexibility to keep pace with inflation.

In addition, NYCT began a select bus service (bus rapid transit) pilot
program in the early summer of 2008. There are two distinctive
features of bus rapid transit, both designed to reduce the time
needed for passengers to board. Customers will pre-pay and obtain a
proof of payment receipt which the will be required to maintain in
their possession for the duration of the trip.
And, they will be able to board the bus through both the front and
rear doors. These features create new challenges in preventing fare
evasion -- the ability to impose a far more substantial fine for fare
evasion would be a valuable deterrent and adjunct to any enforcement
effort.

This bill would also make TAB's proceedings more efficient and less
costly by lessening the burden placed on NYCT by notice requirements.

NYCT must personally serve an initial notice of violation of NYCT
rules, the most important notice. Nothing in this bill changes that
requirement. This bill affects only how NYCT will serve later
administrative notices.

Under current law, TAB, like New York City's Parking Violations Bureau
and Environmental Control Board, already uses first-class mail for
some of these notices: notices of default and
notices of whether TAB has entered a judgment against a respondent.
But TAB is required to send other administrative notices by certified
or registered mail. TAB therefore annually sends out some 20,000
pieces of certified mail at a current cost of approximately $5.25 each.
Permitting TAB to serve these kinds of notices by first class mail
will save TAB approximately $100,000 annually in postage costs alone.


It makes little sense to require more expensive and sometimes less
reliable or less convenient certified or registered mail for the vast
majority of TAB notices, but allow first-class mail for other
important TAB notices.

In addition to savings in postage, this bill allows TAB to reduce the
administrative costs of processing its mail by approximately $6,000
annually. Since 1996, when the MTA began proposing this change, the
MTA would have realized approximately $1 million in savings if this
straight-forward, administrative-efficiency bill had been enacted
into law.

Not only is first-class mail less expensive than certified or
registered mail, but it is at least as effective, perhaps more so.
Many notices sent by certified mail are returned to TAB because the
respondent was not available at the time of home delivery, and did
not pick up the certified mail at the post office despite notices
left by the letter carrier. Indeed, TAB relies upon first class
delivery if it is unable to serve a notice by certified mail.
Furthermore, service by first-class mail will benefit recipients, who
will avoid the inconvenience of having to retrieve certified mail
from the post office.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2012: Passed the Senate (S.5870/A.8807)
2009-10: Similar legislation, S.3618 Referred to Transportation

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

The first-class mail portion of this bill will save the MTA an
estimated $100,000 annually, with an additional $6,000 in savings in
administrative costs.

The increased fines for TAB violations will likely result in
additional TAB revenues that should be partially offset by a reduced
number of violations based on the expected deterrent effect of the
increased fines.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
Immediately.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                   756

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced by Sens. FUSCHILLO, GOLDEN -- read twice and ordered printed,
  and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Transportation

AN  ACT  to amend the public authorities law, in relation to the maximum
  civil penalties and service by mail provisions of the transit  adjudi-
  cation bureau of the New York city transit authority

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Subdivision 5-a of section 1204 of the  public  authorities
law,  as  amended by chapter 931 of the laws of 1984, is amended to read
as follows:
  5-a. To make, amend and repeal rules governing the conduct and  safety
of  the public as it may deem necessary, convenient or desirable for the
use and operation of the  transit  facilities  under  its  jurisdiction,
including without limitation rules relating to the protection or mainte-
nance  of  such  facilities,  the  conduct and safety of the public, the
payment of fares or other lawful charges for the use of such facilities,
the presentation or display of documentation  permitting  free  passage,
reduced  fare  passage  or  full fare passage on such facilities and the
protection of the revenue of the authority.   Violations of  such  rules
shall  be  an  offense punishable by a fine of not exceeding twenty-five
dollars or by imprisonment for not longer than ten days, or both, or may
be punishable by the  imposition  by  the  transit  adjudication  bureau
established  pursuant to the provisions of this title of a civil penalty
in an amount for each violation not to exceed [one] FIVE hundred dollars
(exclusive of interest or costs assessed thereon), in accordance with  a
schedule  of  such  penalties as may from time to time be established by
rules of the authority. Such schedule of penalties may provide  for  the
imposition of additional penalties, not to exceed a total of [fifty] ONE
HUNDRED  dollars for each violation, upon the failure of a respondent in
any proceeding commenced with respect to  any  such  violation  to  make

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD01423-01-3

S. 756                              2

timely  response  to  or  appearance  in  connection  with  a  notice of
violation of such rule or to any subsequent notice or  order  issued  by
the authority in such proceeding. There shall be no penalty or increment
in  fine  by  virtue of a respondent's timely exercise of his right to a
hearing or appeal. The rules may provide, in addition to any other sanc-
tions, for the confiscation of tokens,  tickets,  cards  or  other  fare
media  that  have been forged, counterfeit, improperly altered or trans-
ferred, or otherwise used in a manner inconsistent with such rules.
  S 2. Paragraph b of subdivision 4 of  section  1209-a  of  the  public
authorities  law,  as  amended  by  chapter  379 of the laws of 1992, is
amended to read as follows:
  b. To impose civil penalties not  to  exceed  a  total  of  [one]  SIX
hundred  [fifty] dollars for any transit infraction within its jurisdic-
tion, in accordance with a penalty schedule established by the authority
except that penalties for violations of the health code of the  city  of
New  York shall be in accordance with the penalties established for such
violations by the board of health of the city of New York, and penalties
for violations of the noise code of the city of New  York  shall  be  in
accordance  with  the  penalties established for such violations by law,
and civil penalties for violations of the rules and regulations  of  the
triborough  bridge  and tunnel authority shall be in accordance with the
penalties established for such violations by section [two thousand nine]
TWENTY-NINE hundred eighty-five of this chapter;
  S 3. Paragraphs a and g of subdivision 7  of  section  1209-a  of  the
public  authorities  law, as amended by chapter 379 of the laws of 1992,
are amended to read as follows:
  a. (1) A person charged with a transit infraction  returnable  to  the
bureau  or  a  person  alleged  to  be  liable  in  accordance  with the
provisions of section [two thousand nine]  TWENTY-NINE  hundred  eighty-
five  of  this  chapter who contests such allegation shall be advised of
the date on or by which he or she must appear to answer the charge at  a
hearing.  Notification of such hearing date shall be given either in the
notice  of  violation  or  in  a  form,  the  content  of which shall be
prescribed by the executive  director  or  in  a  manner  prescribed  in
section  [two  thousand  nine]  TWENTY-NINE  hundred eighty-five of this
chapter. Any such notification shall contain a  warning  to  advise  the
person  charged  that failure to appear on or by the date designated, or
any subsequent rescheduled or adjourned date, shall be  deemed  for  all
purposes,  an admission of liability, and that a default judgment may be
rendered and penalties may be imposed.  Where notification is given in a
manner other than in the notice of violation, the bureau  shall  deliver
such  notice  to the person charged, either personally or by [registered
or certified] FIRST CLASS mail.
  (2) Whenever a person charged with a transit infraction or alleged  to
be  liable  in  accordance  with the provisions of section [two thousand
nine] TWENTY-NINE hundred eighty-five of this chapter returnable to  the
bureau  requests an alternate hearing date and is not then in default as
defined in subdivision six of this section, the bureau shall advise such
person personally, or by [registered or certified] FIRST CLASS mail,  of
the  alternate  hearing  date  on  or  by which he or she must appear to
answer the charge or allegation at a hearing. The form  and  content  of
such  notice  of  hearing shall be prescribed by the executive director,
and shall contain a warning to advise the person charged or  alleged  to
be liable that failure to appear on or by the alternate designated hear-
ing  date,  or  any  subsequent  rescheduled or adjourned date, shall be

S. 756                              3

deemed for all purposes an admission of liability, and  that  a  default
judgment may be rendered and penalties may be imposed.
  (3)  Whenever a person charged with a transit infraction or alleged to
be liable in accordance with the provisions  of  section  [two  thousand
nine]  TWENTY-NINE hundred eighty-five of this chapter returnable to the
bureau appears at a hearing and obtains an adjournment  of  the  hearing
pursuant to the rules of the bureau, the bureau shall advise such person
personally,  or  by  [registered  or certified] FIRST CLASS mail, of the
adjourned date on which he or she must appear to answer  the  charge  or
allegation  at  a continued hearing. The form and content of such notice
of a continued hearing shall be prescribed by  the  executive  director,
and  shall  contain a warning to advise the person charged or alleged to
be liable that failure to appear on the adjourned hearing date shall  be
deemed  for  all  purposes an admission of liability, and that a default
judgment may be rendered and penalties may be imposed.
  g. After due consideration of the evidence and arguments, the  hearing
officer  shall  determine  whether  the charges or allegations have been
established. No charge may be established except upon proof by clear and
convincing evidence except allegations of civil liability for violations
of triborough bridge and tunnel authority rules and regulations will  be
established  in  accordance with the provisions of section [two thousand
nine] TWENTY-NINE hundred eighty-five of this chapter. Where the charges
have not been established, an order dismissing the  charges  or  allega-
tions  shall  be entered. Where a determination is made that a charge or
allegation has been established or if an answer admitting the charge  or
allegation has been received, the hearing officer shall set a penalty in
accordance  with  the  penalty schedule established by the authority, or
for allegations of civil liability in accordance with the provisions  of
section  [two  thousand  nine]  TWENTY-NINE  hundred eighty-five of this
chapter and an appropriate order shall be entered in the records of  the
bureau.  The respondent shall be given notice of such entry in person or
by [certified] FIRST CLASS mail. This order shall constitute  the  final
determination  of  the  hearing  officer,  and for purposes of review it
shall be deemed to incorporate any intermediate determinations  made  by
said  officer  in  the course of the proceeding. When no appeal is filed
this order shall be the final order of the bureau.
  S 4. Paragraph d of subdivision 8 of  section  1209-a  of  the  public
authorities  law,  as  amended  by  chapter  379 of the laws of 1992, is
amended to read as follows:
  d. Appeals shall be made without the appearance of the  appellant  and
appellant's attorney unless the presence of either or both are requested
by  the  appellant, appellant's attorney, appellant's parent or guardian
if appellant is a minor, or the appeals board. Within twenty days  after
a  request  for an appearance, made by or for the appellant, appellant's
attorney or the board, the bureau shall  advise  the  appellant,  either
personally or by [registered or certified] FIRST CLASS mail, of the date
on  which  he  or  she  shall appear. The appellant shall be notified in
writing of the decision of the appeals board.
  S 5. This act shall take effect immediately.

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