How Transit Agencies are Addressing Fare Evasion
How Transit Agencies Are Approaching Fare Evasion
Transit operators are cracking down on fare evasion even more severely due to low ridership and financial constraints brought on by the pandemic. While some operators are implementing expensive turnstiles and gates, others are looking for root causes of fare evasion. However, heavy-handed policing and expensive solutions have drawbacks, such as slowing boarding and limiting accessibility for wheelchair users. Some cities are experimenting with alternative solutions, such as diversion options, allowing payment with EBT cards, or eliminating fares altogether.
Some transit operators are tackling the root causes of fare evasion, rather than relying on costly turnstiles and gates. However, with ridership depressed and agencies facing a fiscal cliff, many are tightening enforcement. The tone of this approach did not exist before the pandemic, as did the level of expensive spending compared with the scale of the problem. Technological solutions such as turnstiles can be expensive, difficult to use and can limit accessibility, annoying paying riders. Diversion options in lieu of citations, allowing people to pay for transit with EBT cards, or eliminating fares could be considered by some cities to tackle the problem in new ways.
“Fare evasion is a topic that rears its head regularly; it’s a staple of local TV news and a frequent target of high-profile crackdowns,” write John Surico and Lillianna Byington in Bloomberg CityLab. With ridership still well below pre-pandemic levels and many transit agencies facing a fiscal cliff, transit operators are cracking down on fare evasion even more severely.
But “At the same time, targeting riders with heavy-handed policing in the wake of a deadly pandemic that revealed the inequities of public transit in the US carries with it a tone that didn’t exist before. As does millions of dollars in spending that doesn’t appear to match the cost of the issue it’s trying to address.” Meanwhile, “technological solutions have been elusive, as dodger-resistant turnstiles can be both expensive to install and difficult to use, slowing boarding, limiting accessibility for wheelchair users and irritating paying riders.”
“Critics of fare evasion enforcement often cite the high expense of curbing it,” with a 2018 Streetsblog article pointing out that New York City’s MTA planned to spend $249 million to save $200 million in fare evasion. “Interactions with law enforcement can also pose physical risks, both to riders and transit staffers: Earlier this week, three members of the New York MTA’s Eagle Team, which works to combat fare evasion, were fired at by a bus rider over an unpaid fare.”
To address the problem in new ways, some cities are experimenting with diversion options in lieu of citations, allowing people to pay for transit with EBT cards, or eliminating fares—and the costs of fare collection and enforcement—altogether.
1- melk360.com ,How Transit Agencies Are Approaching Fare Evasion ,2023-04-20 16:00:00