Watch CBS News

MTA: Fare and toll evasion is responsible for $700 million a year in lost revenue

MTA: Fare & toll evasion costs agency hundreds of millions in revenue
MTA: Fare & toll evasion costs agency hundreds of millions in revenue 01:44

NEW YORK -- The MTA says fare and toll evasion is at a crisis point.

What to do about those who ride for free, drivers who avoid bridge and tunnel tolls and others who sneak onto buses and trains?

"Why can't they pay?" rider Edward Hayes said.

It's responsible for $700 million a year in lost revenue for the MTA, said its chairman and CEO, Janno Lieber.

"That is money that could be used ... to invest in infrastructure," he said.

Reporters were shown the latest fare gate technology Wednesday at Grand Central Terminal -- machines that identify subway riders jamming through on the heels of someone else with big Plexiglass panels.

"Like they have in Europe, there's doors that are high up that you can't jump over," Midwood resident Nash Benaim said.

Transportation experts call platform emergency exits a super highway of fare evasion, saying when they open, people stream through.

Emergency gates can be avoided, they say, when you make gates wider for strollers and wheelchairs.

None of the machines displayed are on order for the MTA yet.

"Is there a place in the world, a city where you're impressed with the way they're doing this that you feel you can learn from?" CBS2's Dave Carlin asked officials.

"We are not aware someplace that's got it perfectly right. We are learning together with the rest of the world," said Blue Ribbon panel co-chair Roger Maldonado.

The MTA is looking to add gate guards at 30 stations, giving first-time offenders warning tickets while expanding fare subsidies for those who qualify as low income.

Limitations to fix the problem include the astronomical costs of fixing infrastructure -- buying all new gates, for example -- but these leaders say it's crucial that free rides reach the end of the line.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.