Senator Fuschillo Calls for Higher Fines for Subway Fare-Beaters
Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) today announced that he is introducing legislation to raise the fines for those who attempt to avoid paying fares on New York City subways. Fare evasion cost the MTA an estimated $31 million last year alone.
“Fare-paying riders are being forced to pay the multi-million tab for those who are trying to beat the system. At a time when every dollar counts, the MTA and its riders can’t afford to pay for freeloading fare-beaters. Raising the fines for fare evasion will create a stronger deterrent by making the cost of an illegal free ride far more expensive,” said Senator Fuschillo, Chairman of the Senate’s Transportation Committee.
Current law allows the MTA to impose a maximum $100 fine for fare evasion, with an additional $50 fine if the person does not pay the fine or respond to the summons. These penalties are not doing enough to deter fare-evasion; in many cases they are actually cheaper than paying the fares.
According to a recent Daily News article, the average fare-beater can expect to get a $100 fine for fare-beating once every six to thirteen weeks; this is actually cheaper than if the fare-beater had bought weekly metrocards at $27 a week during the same time period. According to the article, an average of 50,000 people a day rode the New York City subway without paying the fare in 2009.
Senator Fuschillo’s legislation (S5870) would make it far more expensive to evade the fare by allowing the MTA to raise the maximum fare evasion fine to $500. The legislation would also raise the penalty for failing to pay the fine from $50 to $100.
Senator Fuschillo worked with both MTA and NYPD in drafting the legislation.