How farebeating ‘tears the social fabric’ – NewsAlarts
MTA chief Janno Lieber is entirely right: Farebeating “tears at the social fabric,” wreaking damage far beyond the mere theft.
Not that the thefts don’t add up: The practice cost the cash-strapped MTA an estimated $500 million last year. But it’s the more insidious impact that Lieber flagged to The Post editorial board Tuesday.
First, it makes flouting the law these individuals’ first act on entering the transit system, putting them in a frame of mind to act out more. That can go all the way up to terrorizing and assaulting others, both fellow passengers and MTA workers.
Or as Mayor Eric Adams puts it: “If we start saying it’s all right for you to jump the turnstile, we are creating an environment where any and everything goes.”
More, just seeing others getting away with it tells everyone else that law and order are out the window in the transit system. Worse, it encourages others to break the rules: Why be a sucker?
The practice soared during the pandemic and is still far above pre-2020 levels, but the key moment came in 2017, when then-Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced an end to prosecuting the crime, a policy other DAs then copied and Vance successor Alvin Bragg continues. Vance argued that a $2.75 offense isn’t worth the prosecutorial resources, blithely ignoring the far larger social costs of tolerating it.
In fact, he was appeasing the left, which pretends it’s a “crime of poverty,” as if the fare was out of anyone’s reach. (Bragg has even less excuse, since low-income New Yorkers now qualify for half-price rides.)
And knowing the cases won’t get prosecuted discourages cops from enforcing the law at all. Yet arresting these perps often nabs serious criminals. Last October, for example, a farebeating stop wound up catching a repeat offender linked to a slashing on the 1 train earlier that month. As Lieber then noted, “Overwhelmingly, the criminals are farebeaters.”
Indeed, police who stop farebeaters regularly find them carrying illegal guns.
In fact, the city’s huge turnaround on crime began back in the 1990s when then-Transit Police Chief Bill Bratton started a high-profile, systematic crackdown on farebeating. New York City sure could use the same again today.