April 24, 2019 News

Op-Ed by Policy Director Mitali Nagrecha: Flush with revenue, MTA must stop punishing farebeaters

When congestion pricing begins in 2021, a majority of the revenue will go to the buses and subways. New York City Transit President Andy Byford must prioritize spending it to increase affordable access to transportation for the city’s poor, many of whom rely on the MTA. And he must end his targeting of fare evasion, a crackdown that has penalized poverty.

Unfortunately, Byford has shown no signs of relenting. Late last year he announced “fare evasion strike teams,” a partnership with the NYPD to target subway and bus riders who haven’t paid. Since then he has been pushing to expand that effort.

Penalizing people for their inability to afford transportation is a textbook example of what advocates call “criminalization of poverty.” Transportation is a basic human need and a public good. Richer residents can afford to pay their fares and easily get to work, school and medical appointments. But individuals who cannot do so face a hard choice between not getting where they need to go and risking arrest and a spiral of consequences.

Read the rest of the Op-Ed at Crain’s New York Business