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Confusion Over MTA Bus Fare Leaves Woman Slapped With $100 Fine

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A Manhattan woman with an unlimited MetroCard has been penalized because of confusion over the city's improved bus service.

The MTA called Emily Kratter a fare jumper and slapped her with a ticket for $100. She got on one of the city's so-called 'Select' buses without pre-paying, even though she already had an unlimited monthly pass.

"I thought because I already had an unlimited card I was allowed to enter the bus," she told CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer.

Kratter was ejected from the bus by inspectors that she said were just plain rude.

"I feel violated. It was a humiliating experience," she said.

Emily had just moved to her neighborhood and said it was her first time on a 'Select' bus. She only found out about the pre-pay policy when she went to the front of the bus, but the driver told her not to worry.

"He said, 'you need a receipt,' I said, 'I have an unlimited card. Should I get off?' And he goes, 'next time, next time,'" she explained.

When Emily appealed she got a response saying two, totally contradicting things.

First, that the case was dismissed because, "the Transit Authority has failed to prove that the respondent committed the violation charged." And then that she was ordered to pay a 'civil fine of $100.'

MTA Spokesman Kevin Ortiz called the dismissal a clerical error that was left in erroneously.

It may be that the MTA doesn't do a good job of explaining the rules, because Emily was not the only one left unaware.

Leah Gallagher was forced off of a bus for failing to pay in advance.

"No, I wasn't notified," she said.

Emily's lawyer Kenneth Mollins questioned the ruling.

"It's very confusing. The administrative law judge had no clue what he was writing about, or really didn't care. All he really wanted to get to was the end result which was pay the fine," Mollins said.

Mollins said he plans to fight for a dismissal.


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