Transit summonses on rise with focus on fare beating on buses

Summonses in the transit system shot up 30% early in the year.

Summonses in the transit system shot up 30% early in the year because of a focus on busting fare beaters on buses, according to the MTA.

The MTA’s Eagle Team has been patrolling Select Bus routes as well as standard buses in problem areas.

In the first quarter of this year, the Eagle Team issued 13,019 summonses, more than doubling the 5,402 given out over the same period in 2013. The Eagle Team also increased its share in the total number of summonses that went through the Transit Adjudication Bureau, making up 37% of the nearly 36,000 tickets issued. Last year, the bus patrolling team made up less than a fifth of the 27,615 summonses the bureau handled from January to March 31.

The MTA declined to say how many bus routes the Eagle Team patrols, but there are two new Select Bus Service routes in operation this year, on Webster Avenue in the Bronx and Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, that didn’t exist in data covering early 2013.

The Eagle Team is made up mostly of retired law enforcement officials who partner with NYPD officers. The team started to focus on fare evasion on Select Bus routes in 2008.

Meanwhile, the NYPD summonses held steady, with nearly 23,000 this year compared to about 22,200 from the same period in 2013.

The NYPD’s share of summonses that made their way through the TAB in the first quarter decreased to nearly 64%, from 80% in 2013, according to the MTA.

This enforcement blitz led to the MTA collecting $2.43 million from 24,200 payments, a 10% increase from the $2.2 million haul early in 2013. The money goes into the MTA’s Transit Crime Fund.

The TAB handled 7,360 cases in the first quarter of the year, with nearly 600 of them getting dismissed. The MTA loses about $100 million a year from fare evasion, roughly split between the subway and bus systems.

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