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Business, Government and Community Leaders React to Formation of MTA Blue-Ribbon Panel to Address Fare Evasion

Updated April 26, 2022 7:15 p.m.
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Following the announcement from Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chair and CEO Janno Lieber on the formation of a blue-ribbon panel to develop fresh approaches to reducing fare evasion across the entire MTA system, reaction from business, government and community leaders across the New York metropolitan region appears below.

Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, said: "Rampant fare evasion contributes to a breakdown of civility in the transit system, leading to perceived and real conditions of lawlessness that commuters find threatening. This panel represents an important initiative to address the problem and offer solutions, including ways to help those who legitimately cannot afford the fare."

Mitchell Moss, Director of the NYU Wagner Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management, said: "Mass transit is vital to the city and all New Yorkers should recognize that fare evasion undermines the entire bus and subway system. The MTA should develop strategies to reduce fare evasion in order to assure the future health of the mass transit system."

Michael Hardy, Blue-Ribbon Panel Member and National Action Network Executive Vice President and General Counsel Attorney, said: "Fighting fare evasion is crucial to keeping the region moving, but we must do so in a way that does not violate a New Yorker’s civil rights. Budget shortfalls at the MTA have the biggest impact on Black and Brown communities and lower income New Yorkers who have no choice but to depend on mass transit. At the same time, we must work together to explore and address the reasons why somebody jumps a turnstile. The MTA’s panel will look to proactive strategies that can be used to combat rampant evasion, including improved access to the Fair Fares program, and advance transit equity in every neighborhood."

Lisa Daglian, Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC), said: "The well-thought out and equitable approaches to addressing fare evasion that MTA Chair Janno Lieber announced today are going to be an essential part of the MTA's and our region’s recovery. The $500 million a year that's lost could be used for more frequent and reliable service, key to getting more riders back on board, and to closing the MTA’s operating budget gap. Riders want to feel as though there is a sense of control underground, that we're safe when we ride; adding fare evasion to the list of incidents that need to be addressed is a great step in that direction."

Gridlock Sam Schwartz said: "I am pleased to see the MTA is taking a comprehensive look at toll and fare evasion and not just taking some heavy-handed reflexive approach. The Blue-Ribbon Panel is inclusive of those who have long represented low-income New Yorkers as well as those with compliance experience. I urge the panel to zero in on drivers who flaunt the law with phony or defaced license plates. “Bad plates” show up much too often on speed and red-light cameras and in crashes."