The NYPD announced a crackdown Monday on fare-beaters who try to board city buses without paying. NY1's Tina Redwine filed the following report.
It's not hard to find people who will try to ride city buses without paying.
NY1 saw a couple of them one day last month when NY1 was first to report the NYPD was targeting fare-beaters on Staten Island.
Officers are picking up a growing number of people who don't want to pay to get on the bus.
On Monday, the NYPD said it's cracking down on them citywide.
As of Sunday, the department said officers arrested 1,228 fare-beaters so far this year. That number is more than double the 698 arrested during the same period last year.
Rookie and undercover officers are boarding buses in high-crime zones.
If someone boards a bus without paying the fare, the MTA tells bus operators to remind the passenger to pay. If the rider refuses, the driver is told to not to confront the passenger for safety reasons.
Statistics show that since the beginning of the year, officers on buses in the Bronx have arrested 906 fare-beaters, the most by far. The Bronx is followed by Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens.
But the MTA says even though officers made only 60 arrests on Staten Island, a random sampling of buses show the borough has a big problem with fare evasion.
"We're seeing the higher-end rates in Staten Island, where there's a lot of school service and a lot of fare evasion may be students," said Thomas Prendergast, the president of MTA NYC Transit.
Officials estimate the MTA loses more than $50 million a year because of bus fare evaders. If you add subway fare-beating, the estimate grows to about $100 million a year in lost revenue. So MTA board members applauded the police department initiative for recouping what they say amounts to stolen money.
"It will mean that there is more money for service and that's good news for all New Yorkers," said MTA board member Allen Cappelli.
That's assuming people who haven't been paying decide the time has come to start.