MTA Hires Private Security Guards to Catch Fare-Evaders
By Yehudit Garmaise
As thousands of fare-evaders continue to jump the turnstiles at subway stations every day without consequence, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has hired private security guards to catch perpetrators, New York City Transit President Richard Davey said during an MTA board meeting Wednesday.
NYPD has issued more summons to fare-beaters this year than last, but more eyes and ears are needed to catch the many New Yorkers who neglect to swipe MetroCards, nor tap the OMNY app, before descending the stairs to catch their trains.
In 2022 so far, the number of summonses police officers have issued is 45,667, which is 8,998 more than last year, when the NYPD issued 36,669 summonses to New Yorkers who tried to ride the subway without paying.
“Overwhelmingly, the criminals are fare-evaders, so if we do a decent job of discouraging fare evasion and stopping people who are engaged in it, we’re going to catch a lot of criminals,” MTA CEO Janno Lieber told authority board members during their monthly meeting,
“[The fare-beating] crackdown is very much first and foremost a safety initiative.”
“Not every fare evader is a criminal, but experience has shown that virtually every criminal is a fare evader.”
As fare-beaters continue to ride for free, other transit crimes, such as grand larceny, robbery, and felony assault, also continue to rise, according to Comp Stat figures, PIX11 reported.
Not only do fare-evaders tend to commit crimes, but people who regularly steal subway rides also create an environment in which people who break the law get the sense that they are not being watched and that they can get away with anything, Mayor Eric Adams has said.
In addition, those who jump the turnstiles to ride the city’s subways without paying will likely rob the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) of an astounding $500 million this year, the agency predicted in May.
To help the NYPD catch fare-beaters, eight weeks ago, the MTA has launched a test program that started with stationing unarmed guards near the emergency exits of six subway stations citywide.
"Across those six stations, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in fares being paid in just the last six to eight weeks,” said Davey who considers the MTA’s employment of private security guards to catch fare-evaders successful so far.
The MTA plans to expand every month by hiring 50 additional guards to stand watch at subway turnstiles.