The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will begin its long-awaited fare-beating crackdown next month on city buses — following $315 million in losses last year.
Unarmed fare enforcement agents, typically reserved for select bus service routes, were deployed Thursday to start manning local bus service for the first time. But enforcement starts in September.
Passengers on SBS routes swipe their MetroCards before getting on and are required to show their receipts to the agent. But on a regular-service bus, riders swipe their cards in front of the driver — or, in some cases, they just don’t pay.
Fare evasion on buses accounted for nearly half of the estimated $700 million the MTA lost to non-payment in 2022.
“All of a sudden, buses have become the No. 1 fare evasion problem,” said MTA chairman Janno Lieber. “That is money we should be using to provide better transit, but, instead, it’s totally lost.”
He added: “It’s not fair to the millions of riders who play by the rules.”
The agency said the agents would first focus on routes that hit the Fulton Street Mall, Kips Bay or the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.
City Transit chief Rich Davey added that the agents will spend much of the next six weeks issuing warnings and passing out information about the Big Apple’s reduced fare options for low-income New Yorkers before they start writing summonses in mid-September.
A report issued by the MTA earlier this year estimated the agency lost $691 million in 2022 alone due to riders skipping out on paying the fare — $315 million of that was attributed to riders walking onto the Big Apple’s buses without swiping their MetroCard or tapping on OMNY.
The agency has also announced plans to tighten the gearing on subway turnstiles to make it harder for fare-beaters to slip through and expects to detail plans for a complete redesign of the system’s entry barriers with new high-tech gates that are harder to jump over.