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Farebeating on Staten Island local buses

Posted by Gold_12TH on Mon May 14 11:34:29 2012

Brazen bus riders don't pay their way on Staten Island
There's nothing like a free ride.

That's what nearly one in every five bus riders believes as they breeze by the fare box, ignore the driver's request for payment and take a seat on a number of Staten Island routes.

An informal Advance survey of 270 bus riders revealed that 50 of those riders -- or 18.5 percent -- were fare-beaters, a practice that costs the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the buses, $328 million in lost revenue each year.

Drivers say it's unsafe to confront fare-beaters while operating a bus. And they say 18.5 percent may be a conservative finding.

"It happens all the time," said a 10-year driver who did not want to be identified for this story. "For every trip, I would say about a third to a half or more don't pay."

For the survey, an Advance reporter boarded the S44, S79, S53, S54, S61 and the S78 buses between the hours of 11 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. over three weekdays, April 30, May 1 and May 2. Total observation time on the buses was about six hours.

During those six hours, 270 passengers boarded the buses, and of those riders, 220 paid the $2.25 fare while 50 did not.

On the MTA website, the official number of bus riders, citywide, in 2011 was 665,314,040. But that includes only paying customers, the MTA confirmed.

The MTA declined to provide its official estimates for non-paying bus riders, Islandwide or citywide.

But applying the Advance's estimate of at least 18 percent of bus passengers being fare beaters, the total ridership on MTA buses system-wide would be more than 811 million.

Drivers interviewed said that express bus riders are more reliable when it comes to paying the fare than passengers along local bus routes.

RIDING THE 'FREE 44'
A local route with one of the highest fare-beating rates, drivers say, is the S44, which runs between the St. George Ferry Terminal and the Staten Island Mall in New Springville. Drivers and passengers have dubbed the line "The Free 44."

On the afternoon of May 1, along the S44 line, a reporter observed seven passengers out of 44 -- or about 16 percent -- who did not pay the fare.

Some areas of the North Shore have a higher instance of fare-beaters, noted bus drivers interviewed during the survey. But the Advance found a fair share of cheats on routes going to and from the mid-Island and South Shore areas.

In fact, on April 30, the S54 from Castleton Avenue and Broadway in West Brighton to Hylan Boulevard and Richmond Avenue in Eltingville had the highest instance -- more than 50 percent -- of fare cheats during the survey, with 20 out of 39 not paying.

A reporter observed several fare-beating techniques. Many passengers simply disregard the fare box by walking right past it. Others take a more surreptitious approach by swiping a spent MetroCard to avoid detection.

"People will put in a dead MetroCard and think that they are fooling you," said one driver. "But that locks up the fare box, and we just hit a button and the box starts working again."

The Advance also observed passengers depositing a quarter or a dime as a partial fare before taking their seats.

"The official MTA instruction is to tell the person 'the fare is $2.25,' and that's it. After that, it's not on us," said the driver. "No one at the MTA really cares. There's nothing done to compel people to pay."

The MTA confirmed that its official policy is to simply notify passengers that "the fare is $2.25" when they see someone not paying, and the agency also said that lost fare revenue was not responsible for service reductions.

LOOKING FOR FARE-BEATERS
In Manhattan and the Bronx, a group of uniformed fare inspectors called the New York City Transit Eagle Team has been patrolling three select bus service routes since 2008 -- two in Manhattan and one in the Bronx -- issuing $100 summonses to every fare-beater they catch.

The inspectors have netted 36,700 non-paying riders in the last four years, with 18,918 summonses handed out just last year, proving fare-beating is not just a Staten Island problem.

But if more than 100 million passengers citywide are beating the fare box each year, the team's efforts are a drop in the bucket.

"On the bus, they know nothing's going to happen, so why pay?" the driver asked, rhetorically.

The NYPD is charged with picking up the slack in issuing summonses to fare cheats for the rest of the system.

Last year, the NYPD issued 743 summonses citywide for fare evasion, and that includes four summonses issued on Staten Island. But the police could not break out the method of transportation, so the numbers include buses and trains.

Some paying customers get miffed and feel cheated when they watch others stroll on the bus and ignore the driver when he tells them that there is actually a fare to be paid.

"Yes, they (paying customers) complain," the bus driver said, adding that fare-beating has increased in recent years. "All of these people get on for free and then the MTA raises the fare."

"I see somebody on the bus, and yeah, he can pay. But it's 10 cents," said paying customer Mona Attallo of Stapleton. "It's not fair, you know. That's it."


FRUSTRATED PASSENGERS
Some drivers will refuse to move the bus if passengers don't pay, which in turn aggravates other passengers, said Alex Moore, 16, of Concord.

"Sometimes the bus driver will tell them to get off," Moore said. "They stop the bus and tell them to get off the bus. But it's also not moving. It gets people upset because some people have to go to work or get home to their kids or something like that."

Manhattan doorman George Warnock of St. George pays $105 each month to ride the bus.

"Most of the young kids beat the fares because they don't have money to go to school and back so they just get on the bus. They beat the fares that way, and a lot of homeless people beat the fares," Warnock said. "And people with low-paying jobs sometimes beat the fares because minimum wage doesn't pay the fares."

He has seen some of the more physically strong drivers stop the bus and kick fare cheats off. But many of them just don't want a confrontation because of recent assaults on drivers.

"The bus drivers can't do anything about it because they don't want to be involved. They don't want the trouble," Warnock said. "I think we need bodyguards or police. If they keep raising the fare, I guess it would be necessary."

"I feel like I'm paying my share, and a lot of people are not, so I feel that everyone should pull their weight and support our transit system," Warnock added.

The problem of assaults on public transit employees has become more noticeable in recent years, and now a recording plays on many buses reminding passengers that it is a felony to assault the driver.

Last December, one such assault occurred between a passenger and a driver at the St. George Ferry Terminal, where the passenger repeatedly punched the driver during an argument, according to reports in the Advance.

A conference Thursday in Brooklyn attended by MTA and local unions, legislators and law enforcement officials addressed the fare-beating situation.
---http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2012/05/brazen_bus_riders_dont_pay_the.html

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(260237)

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Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses {video}

Posted by Gold_12TH on Mon May 14 11:55:02 2012, in response to Farebeating on Staten Island local buses, posted by Gold_12TH on Mon May 14 11:34:29 2012.

video from SI advance:

video link

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(260239)

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Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses {video}

Posted by BigBusDriver on Mon May 14 12:07:01 2012, in response to Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses {video}, posted by Gold_12TH on Mon May 14 11:55:02 2012.

Cool. First bus is rolling with the crowd bar down! Violation!


STILL
LOL@"SELECTIVE" RULE ENFORCEMENT

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(260242)

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Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses

Posted by (SIR) North Shore line on Mon May 14 13:03:12 2012, in response to Farebeating on Staten Island local buses, posted by Gold_12TH on Mon May 14 11:34:29 2012.

This article covers a very real and major issue on Staten Island.

1-Not enough metrocard vending machines

2-Poverty

3-Not enough metrocards sold at stores/bodegas especially the $4.50 card

4-Refusal to make change at stores/bodegas.

5-Careless passengers.


SI needs a lot more stores that are stocked with Metrocards.

Also, reduce local service to every 20-30 minutes on the busier lines and introduce EXACT-FARE LIMITED buses; St. George and Bay Ridge expresses that run throughout the day and farebeaters are not allowed on these buses and make sure that is a PSA.



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(260245)

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Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses

Posted by checkmatechamp13 on Mon May 14 13:57:53 2012, in response to Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses, posted by (SIR) North Shore line on Mon May 14 13:03:12 2012.

I realized that they said the S54 starts at Castleton & Broadway. I also noticed that they consider 18,000 riders a year out of 17 million on the M15 (about a 0.1% fare evasion rate) on the same level as an 18% fare evasion rate. That, and the fact that they said 3 +SBS+ routes have been running since 2008. And apparently 82 + 15 = 100 now. I didn't even have to try looking for those mistake and I'm sure there's a bunch that I didn't catch. Fine reporting as usual...

In any case, people have their own problems. You don't know what a person's situation is and whether or not they can afford to pay. Now, should they be allowed to get on carrying a cell phone in their hand? No. (And even if it's a cheap phone and it has some kind of cheap pay-per-minute plan, it's just rude to walk on with a cell phone in hand). The same applies if you're walking on carrying a bunch of clothes from the mall (though if it's food or some other necessity, then it's a different story).

In any case the MTA estimated that it loses $27 million from fare evasion. Even if it doubled or tripled in recent years, that's nowhere near $344 million or whatever number they came up with.

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(260246)

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Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses

Posted by (SIR) North Shore line on Mon May 14 14:07:18 2012, in response to Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses, posted by (SIR) North Shore line on Mon May 14 13:03:12 2012.

I would also add an additional "EXACT-FARE" reading to the limited destination signs.

S94 ST GEORGE
S94 LIMITED
S94 EXACT-FARE ONLY

The MTA would gain additional revenue not only from forcing riders to pay but from reduced travel times all day instead of rush hours only.

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(260247)

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Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses

Posted by The Flxible Neofan on Mon May 14 14:40:26 2012, in response to Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses, posted by (SIR) North Shore line on Mon May 14 14:07:18 2012.

"Exact Fare?" I thought all MTA routes required exact fare?

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(260248)

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Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses

Posted by (SIR) North Shore line on Mon May 14 14:57:17 2012, in response to Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses, posted by The Flxible Neofan on Mon May 14 14:40:26 2012.

Realistically speaking, that is common knowledge for most but not all. Nothing less than $2.25 would be excepted much like the strict fare enforcement of the SI expresses.


Another solution I have also is charging $2.50 or $2.75 for the SI Limiteds and run most limiteds all day with significantly less local service. The SI limiteds would have a general PSA that the fare will be expected upon boarding and make it known that it will be enforced.

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(260263)

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Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses

Posted by streetcarman1 on Mon May 14 19:33:19 2012, in response to Farebeating on Staten Island local buses, posted by Gold_12TH on Mon May 14 11:34:29 2012.

whatever happened to UNDERCOVER COPS?

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(260266)

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Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses

Posted by BigBusDriver on Mon May 14 20:21:40 2012, in response to Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses, posted by streetcarman1 on Mon May 14 19:33:19 2012.

whatever happened to UNDERCOVER COPS?


They've gone so far undercover, they've forgotten they're cops!


STILL
LOL@FARE BEATING FLATFOOTS

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(260275)

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Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses

Posted by LRG5784 on Mon May 14 23:00:08 2012, in response to Farebeating on Staten Island local buses, posted by Gold_12TH on Mon May 14 11:34:29 2012.

I'm acquainted with three drivers from Staten Island. One of them won't move the bus unless the person gets off. One time four kids got on his S59 at Victory/Richmond. Both him and I can sense when we see "lowlives" at the bus stop. He tells then to have their bus passes ready, but the kids get on and blatantly ignore him. What does he do? He pulls the ICC and turns the bus off, and curses the kids out who then go apeshit because they don't have their way. Don't like it, then too bad.

The other driver wants the kids to at least say something. Give her respect at least, and she'll let them on. The other doesn't give a shit at all if they pay or not.

What's really said is how these kids have the money for an extra value meal at McDonald's but no money for the bus. If I don't have money for the bus or I have money to use for other things then I won't ride the bus or won't try to get on, period. Why put yourself in an embarrassing situation like that?

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(260277)

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Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses

Posted by LRG5784 on Mon May 14 23:05:08 2012, in response to Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses, posted by (SIR) North Shore line on Mon May 14 13:03:12 2012.

Get real. Staten Island is the least poverty-stricken unlike the other boroughs. It's just they have parts in the North Shore where West Brighton, Richmond Terrace, and Mariners' Harbor projects where lowlives tend to get their free rides on. And they can get change, it's just that they don't put effort into getting money for the bus because they expect the bus drivers to be pushovers and let them on. Except...not all of them are like that. So please.

Not to worry though right, cuz it's the working people like myself and others who post here who are paying the fare for the lowlives with our tax dollars. Life is beautiful, ain't it?

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(260282)

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Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses

Posted by checkmatechamp13 on Tue May 15 00:23:18 2012, in response to Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses, posted by LRG5784 on Mon May 14 23:05:08 2012.

Having the lowest poverty rate doesn't mean poverty isn't a problem, especially since there are areas where the poverty rate is much higher than the SI average. The poverty rate within basically any housing project in SI (except maybe the ones south of the SIE) is around 50%, which is the same as in the projects of the other boroughs.

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(260288)

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Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses

Posted by MATHA531 on Tue May 15 06:45:07 2012, in response to Farebeating on Staten Island local buses, posted by Gold_12TH on Mon May 14 11:34:29 2012.

Why just SI? One sees it throughout the city as this scum pulls this crap whether it's just walking on, dipping a card with no money or entering through the exit doors. You see this entering through the rear doors a lot around 1500 when so many pos's rush the bus and enter through the rear door held open by others.

If the city really cared, there would be police out there checking metrocards and issuing summonses for anybody on the bus not paying the fare (receipts should be issued for cash payers showing the amount paid). It's sickening the contempt so many of these people have for acting like mature people.

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Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses

Posted by mci guy on Tue May 15 07:25:52 2012, in response to Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses, posted by MATHA531 on Tue May 15 06:45:07 2012.

the problem here is basically lack of police and thugs. i dont think you should blame it just on the projects as im sure plenty of people living there pay fare. police enforcement ia very lax out here and cops who work in other boroughs know this. its viewed as the country club for cops.

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(260295)

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Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses

Posted by (SIR) North Shore line on Tue May 15 08:46:00 2012, in response to Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses, posted by LRG5784 on Mon May 14 23:05:08 2012.

I remember catching a rather late s44 and along the way, there were tons of farebeaters and the driver mentioned that the reason the bus service sucks is because people don't pay.

Another solution I have is instead of limiteds, reduce the local bus fare in Staten Island because there are no subways.

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Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses

Posted by LRG5784 on Tue May 15 10:14:56 2012, in response to Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses, posted by (SIR) North Shore line on Tue May 15 08:46:00 2012.

1. Not all buses operate like the S44.
2. Giving Staten Islanders a discounted fare will just make people look down on them even more. Making them pay less is not the solution at all. If every bus has to be stopped to take the lowlives off then so be it, better than getting service reduced.

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(260301)

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Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses

Posted by Danny at 103rd street on Tue May 15 10:26:14 2012, in response to Farebeating on Staten Island local buses, posted by Gold_12TH on Mon May 14 11:34:29 2012.

OOOOHHHH Trust me its a regular on Statin Island. I ride the S44 to and from work and everyday riders just walk pass the bus operator. Mainly students don't like to dump their student passes in the fair box.

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Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses

Posted by Terrapin Station on Tue May 15 13:07:36 2012, in response to Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses, posted by Danny at 103rd street on Tue May 15 10:26:14 2012.

You commute from ~East 98th in Manhattan all the way to SI every day?

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Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses

Posted by Danny at 103rd Street on Tue May 15 16:13:43 2012, in response to Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses, posted by Terrapin Station on Tue May 15 13:07:36 2012.

Yes sir I do

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Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses

Posted by Terrapin Station on Tue May 15 17:21:52 2012, in response to Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses, posted by Danny at 103rd Street on Tue May 15 16:13:43 2012.

Sorry to hear that.

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Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses

Posted by checkmatechamp13 on Tue May 15 17:30:05 2012, in response to Re: Farebeating on Staten Island local buses, posted by (SIR) North Shore line on Mon May 14 14:57:17 2012.

They aren't that strict. I've seen people put in a MetroCard with like $4 on it and the B/O will just let them on. Besides, the ones who pay a partial fare and have to transfer (and pay again) make up for the ones who got away without paying the last dollar or whatever.

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