NYC is about to crack down on fare evasion on buses

In early August, The MTA announced the start of a new “Bus Stop Hub” approach to curb fare evasion. This tactic deploys “EAGLE” (aka Evasion and Graffiti Lawlessness Eradication) teams to local and Select Bus Service (SBS) bus stop hubs with high rates of fare evasion. If a passenger can’t prove that they’ve paid their fare, the officers will issue summonses, which often come with a fine of $50-$100. Fines must be paid within 30 days, online or by phone. Those requesting a payment plan will need to pay an additional $10 fee. 

While paying $2.75 upfront is much cheaper than risking a fine, half of New Yorkers can’t afford to live in the city. The EAGLE teams will allegedly help educate members of the community on fare payment options. 

“This approach involves reorienting our customers, so they know that paying the fare is expected, while also educating them on programs that are available for reduced fares,” New York City Transit President Richard Davey said in a news release. 

In 2022, the MTA states that the organization lost an estimated $315 million due to fare evasion on buses, which, can be as easy as entering the bus via the back doors, not buying an SBS ticket (sold in advance at the station), or just walking on the bus with other passengers. 

The MTA’s Fair Fares program is available for New Yorkers 18-64 within certain income limits, starting at or below $14,580 for a one-person household or up to $50,560 for an eight-person household. The Reduced-Fare program offers half-price fares to passengers 65 or older and passengers with disabilities. New York City public school students are also eligible for student Metrocards, which offer three free rides on school day, between 5:30am and 8:30pm.

Source: Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner of Time Out New York

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