MTA deploys armed guards on subways to stop fare dodgers

The MTA is sending armed guards onto subways to stop fares – and says the move is already saving it money.

The transit agency hired a private security firm to deploy the armed personnel at the Myrtle-Wyckoff station on the Brooklyn-Queens border since before the summer, officials said Tuesday.

The transit agency now generates about $100,000 in additional revenue per month thanks to the mere presence of the guards, who just stand by the vending machines and make no arrests, MTA security official Robert Diehl told the agency’s board members at a meeting.

Armed guards have also since been stationed at the nearby Halsey Street station in Brooklyn, officials said.

The agency also decided to deploy unarmed guards to block emergency exits and try to deter scoffers at 12 other stations, officials said.

“We actually started with armed guards first [fare] Machinery. Later, after discussion, we decided to deploy a few unarmed guards at the gates,” Diehl said.

“Once that gate opens, it’s like Black Friday at Macy’s,” Diehl said of subway entrances. “Holding this gate is essential to stopping half of the fare dodgers in our stations.

Guards in yellow vests stand right in the passenger compartment of a subway station
MTA officials this year began using privately hired guards to prevent fare evaders.
J. Messerschmidt/NY Post

“What we’re really trying to stop is the opportunists, that person who, as soon as the gates open, sees three people walking through and says, ‘Hey, why not me?’ and then you have eight people behind this person coming through.

The guards’ presence is intended to discourage drivers from getting through the exit gate and prevent vending machine vandalism, which has been a persistent problem at the Myrtle-Wyckoff station in particular, Diehl said.

It’s unclear if more private armed security guards will be hired for other stations, but the MTA is at least expanding its unarmed guards to other stations, officials said.

NYPD fare enforcement has also increased, with arrests up 97% this year compared to last year, NYPD Transit Bureau chief Jason Wilcox said Tuesday.

MTA CEO Janno Lieber has claimed that transit criminals are “overwhelmingly” fare-drivers, although he’s yet to provide statistics to back that up.

In May, the MTA estimated it would lose $500 million this year from fare evasion.

Officials don’t expect to recoup every penny from their anti-fare efforts, Richard Davey, president of the MTA New York City Transit, said Tuesday. MTA deploys armed guards on subways to stop fare dodgers


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