Metropolitan Transportation Authority
New York City Police Department

New York City Transit: Fare Evasion on the New York City Subways

New York City Transit tries to minimize the number of people who ride the subway without paying the required fare. According to estimates prepared by New York City Transit, in 1995 alone such fare evasion resulted in $15 million in lost revenue. We examined the procedures used by New York City Transit to quantify the extent of fare evasion as well as the procedures used by New York City Transit and the New York City Police Department to prevent fare evasion.

We found indications that fare evasion rates may be significantly overstated by New York City Transit. As a result, the cost of the actions taken to prevent fare evasion (an estimated $13.4 million in 1995 by the New York City Police Department alone) may be excessive. We also identified weaknesses in the procedures used to prevent fare evasion. For example, fines are never collected from most of the people caught evading the fare, often because they do not give a valid name or address when they are caught. We recommend improvements that could make the prevention of fare evasion more cost-effective. 95-S-121