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Fare Evasion On The Rise, Costing MTA Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Hundreds of new officers will be dispatched to train and bus tations.

It comes as the MTA is losing hundreds of million of dollars from people choosing not to pay the fare.

From the city's buses to trains, there's been a drastic increase in the number of riders who just don't pay the fare.

"Some people will ask for a swipe because you know they can't afford it. But there are people who just take advantage and jump because they can," said Harlem resident Sabrina Morgan.

The impact is more than a nuisance. The MTA estimates fare evaders will cost it $260 million this year alone.

"That's huge. Those are big numbers. That could be allocated to something more important.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans to dispatch 500 NYPD and transit officer to 50 subway stations and 50 bus routes where the problem is most prevalent.

Web Extra: Watch Gov. Cuomo's News Conference On MTA Improvements 

"I would have to believe, in my years of experience, that there's got to be a correlation between the turnstile jumping and harassment of the MTA employees. I think if we reduce one, we may be able to reduce both," said Sal Lifrieri of Protective Countermeasures, Inc.

Lifrieri spent two decades with the NYPD and now provides security consulting to companies. He says the plan aimed at improving security for MTA workers and the public while deterring fare evaders is a step in the right direction.

MORE: Gov. Cuomo Blasts Rash Of Attacks On MTA Workers: 'Public Employees Must Be Protected'

The MTA says offenders will not be arrested, but given a $100 ticket.

"Then you need to go after them for the collection capability and they need to be held accountable. Otherwise, what you're doing is telling them to go back across and not jump the turnstile while you're there," Lifrieri said.

As of June 9, the NYPD had made nearly 1,800 arrests and issued more than 1,200 summonses for fare evasion.

The new strategy begins on Monday.

"I'm not sure it will work because I don't know if we'll be able to get people to pay that kind of money," said Upper West Side resident Maritza Diaz.

Riders told CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas they look forward to seeing more officers, but some question if the plan will send a strong enough message to those causing problems in the first place.

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