A woke Queens lawmaker is trying to take the plunge into fare suppression – by having cops handing out flyers for low-cost transit programs to mockers.
A bill introduced in April by Councilwoman Selvena Brooks-Powers (D-Queens) would require NYPD officers to carry fliers in subway stations detailing discounted fare options such as fair fares and how to apply for the programs .
After fare drivers were arrested or hit with $100 tickets for not paying the $2.75 subway fare, the police then gave them the informational literature.
To clarify the intent of the bill, a spokeswoman for Councilwoman Brooks-Powers told the Post, “The legislation is pretty clear.”
However, officials are already rolling their eyes at the criminal suggestion.
“The people who leave [not pay their fare], they’re going to do it anyway,” said a five-year-old police officer at the Bryant Park subway station. “Most of the time it’s repeat offenders who do it before our eyes.”
A police officer at Herald Square station complained: “People think they deserve to ride the subway for free. They have a MetroCard and never use it.”
In 2022, the MTA lost an estimated $500 million to fare evasion on subways and buses, compared to $300 million in 2019 and $150 million in 2017.
“We appreciate Chair Brooks-Powers’ support for transit drivers and look forward to reviewing the bill,” said MTA spokesman Eugene Resnick.
In 2022, a total of 1,897 people were arrested and 47,610 fare evasion summonses were issued, compared to just 887 arrests and 37,003 summonses the year before.
Observers said the trend needed to be met with serious enforcement.
“If I was [still] Cop, I would say I didn’t go to the police station to hand out flyers,” said the retired NYPD Capt. Edward Mamet. “I think there should be a return to the old system of arresting everyone for overfaring and doing warrant checks – that’s how you’re going to stop crime on the subway.”
This week, The Post witnessed at least two dozen brazen straphangers jump the turnstiles or slip through security at four different Manhattan stations — even as cops were busy handing out tickets to fare drivers.
Many of the mockers told the Post that informing police they may qualify for half-discount subway rides won’t stop them from stiffening the MTA.
“A lot of people don’t pay for the subway because they see people sleeping on it,” said Montel Bryant, 28, who jumped the turnstile at 116 Street in Central Harlem.
“I take the train at 5:45 every day and those early hours are demon hours. It’s like, ‘Why should I pay for this?’”
But not everyone thinks the proposed bill should be derailed, as a Rockefeller Center station police officer admitted he supports “anything that helps” reduce fare evasion.
“We don’t want to give people tickets to our job,” he said, adding that he’d rather help people avoid trouble. “Everyone is human.”