Is it illegal to swipe someone through with your MetroCard?

Posted On Tue, March 21, 2017 By

Posted On Tue, March 21, 2017 By In City Living, Transportation

Swiping a fellow New Yorker through the subway turnstile with your MetroCard is practically a New York pastime. But is it actually legal? As DNAinfo reports, the NYPD and MTA say it’s completely lawful to help another rider gain access to the subway, as long as you’re not charging them for the swipe. And for those looking for a free ride? Last year, the city changed their policy on “fare-begging,” which lowered the consequence for riders asking for a swipe from an arrest to a ticket or summons.

In response to the recent MTA fare hikes, which increased the price of a monthly MetroCard to $121 and the cost of a weekly to $32, transit activists held a day of action on Monday, swiping in riders at subway stations across the city. The campaign, called #SwipeitForward, placed more than a dozen transit advocates at the No. 4 & 5 station on East 125th Street and at the 74th Street No. 7 train stop in Jackson-Heights. Last month, the MTA agreed to roll out an initiative, “Freedom Ticket,” which looked to make travel more efficient and affordable for those living in transit deserts in Brooklyn and Queens.

While the MTA said the price hikes are needed because of increased ridership and operational costs, subway performance has been less than optimal. As 6sqft wrote last month, overcrowding continues to be a problem as ridership has ballooned to six million people daily (it was four million during the 1990s, for perspective). As the New York Times reported in February, delays more than doubled over the last five years, jumping to more than 70,000 each month compared to about 28,000 every month in 2012. Only about 67 percent of subway trains reach their final station within five minutes of the schedule, dropping about 15 percentage points since 2012.

In light of all this, offering up a swipe to a fellow citizen is a pretty harmless way to stick it to the MTA—and it can do a lot of good for the beneficiary beyond a few bucks saved. But just remember, jumping the turnstile still remains illegal.

[Via DNAinfo]


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