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MTA Announces “Fareness” Blue-Ribbon Panel Co-Chairs

Updated July 15, 2022 7:00 p.m.

Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, Executive Director of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy & Research at New York University (NYU), and Roger Maldonado, Partner at Smith Gambrell & Russell LLP Appointed as Co-Chairs


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced the appointment of two Co-Chairs to the agency’s Blue-Ribbon Panel to combat fare and toll evasion. Roger Maldonado, Partner at Smith Gambrell & Russell LLP and former President of the New York City Bar Association, and Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, Executive Director of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy & Research at New York University (NYU), have been appointed as Co-Chairs of the panel. Their appointment as members of the panel was previously announced by the MTA in April. 

As Co-Chairs, Maldonado and Pierre-Louis will be leading the “Fareness” Blue-Ribbon Panel’s efforts to find fresh, equitable and effective new responses to fare and toll evasion. The panel is focused on developing a better understanding of the evasion issue and developing new strategies that encourage fare and toll payment with attention to issues of education, equity, enforcement, and environment (facility design and transit technology). 

“Rose Pierre-Louis and Roger Maldonado are bringing years of invaluable experience from their diverse and successful careers,” said MTA Special Counsel Jeremy Feigelson, who leads MTA staff support for the panel. “Their previous work in public service and leadership positions align with the foundational goals of the MTA’s ‘Fareness’ Blue-Ribbon Panel to bring fresh eyes to this issue, and we look forward to their leadership and that of the panel, comprised of professionals who come from across the New York area and from many different backgrounds.”

Rosemonde Pierre-Louis is a highly recognized public sector leader known for driving social and economic change. Her current role as Executive Director at the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy & Research at NYU focuses on leading the mission of disrupting poverty through research, policy and action. Pierre-Louis completed her undergraduate studies in political science at Tufts University and earned a law degree at Case Western University School of Law. 

“A safe and well-funded public transit system is vital to the well-being of our city’s residents and especially for those who have no other way of getting to work, school, their homes and all of the places they need to in order to thrive,” said Blue-Ribbon Panel Co-Chair Pierre-Louis. “I look forward to working with my Co-Chair Roger Maldonado and the rest of this Blue-Ribbon Panel as we recommend solutions for evasion that educate commuters about discounts and approach enforcement in an equitable manner.” 

Roger Maldonado’s more than 40 years of experience includes practicing a diverse array of the law ranging from commercial, intellectual property, real estate employment and education law. Maldonado completed his undergraduate studies at Yale University and obtained a law degree from Yale. 

“Our panel seeks to help all residents of the greater New York City area who use the MTA better understand their responsibility to support public transit by paying their fair share,” said Blue-Ribbon Panel Co-Chair Maldonado. “Many of these residents primarily should be given the opportunity and information about how to enroll in programs that make our transit system more affordable for those New Yorkers who need assistance.” 

Farebox and toll revenue account for approximately 40% of the MTA’s operating budget. Payment evasion recently has spiked to over 12% on the subway and over 31% on New York City Transit buses. Evasion on the MTA’s nine tolled bridge and tunnel crossings has also become an issue, with losses for this year estimated at $50 million due to fake and obscured license plates designed to evade tolling cameras. The panel is looking at all these issues as well as at fare compliance on the MTA’s commuter rail lines, Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road.

The work of the panel is actively underway. That work includes full panel meetings as well as meetings of the panel’s working groups on education, equity, enforcement and environment. Among other things, the panel is reviewing social science research on the causes and mitigation of payment evasion; visiting MTA facilities to observe operations, fare control systems, and enforcement activities; assessing current subsidy programs for riders and how those programs can be improved; conducting focus groups; engaging with the design, construction and technology communities to look at (for example) how subway station entrances, exit gates, and fare control mechanisms can be employed to reduce evasion; and engaging with police, district attorneys, and public interest legal organizations to review current approaches to enforcement and consider how those approaches can be improved in fresh, equitable and effective ways. A panel report with recommendations is expected in the fall.

For more information on the “Fareness” Blue-Ribbon Panel and to see the full list of panelists, click here.