MTA Blasts Manhattan D.A. Over Turnstile Jumpers

MTA Chairman Joe Lhota is upset with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which said it will no longer prosecute most turnstile jumpers.

The Daily News reports that Lhota wrote a letter to D.A. Cy Vance to “strenuously protest” the decision to end criminal prosecution for most fare beaters.

“Fare-beating places a burden on law-abiding transit customers who DO pay the fare, including low-income citizens who despite financial challenges still respect the rule of law and their obligation to pay their way,” Lhota said in his letter.

Several New Yorkers who talked to WOR's Alice Stockton Rossini seemed to side with Lhota.

"I think there are more important things to go after, but if a little chaos starts happening then a lot of chaos starts happening," one woman said.

"As somebody who's done it before and then gotten charged for it, I understand why police should go after them," said another woman who had to pay a $75 fine.

Vance’s office announced it would stop prosecuting most fare beaters.  But he said turnstile jumpers would be stopped and issued a civil or criminal summons.  They could also still be arrested if they had an outstanding warrant or a weapon.

“The real question is not whether there should be consequences for fare evasion, but rather, what the consequences should be,” Vance wrote in a letter that responded to Lhota’s claims.

Vance said prosecuting fare beaters clogs the court system and the MTA doesn’t even get the $2.75 back in lost from the crime.  Vance said this will also allow police officers to remain on their post, rather than dealing with the turnstile jumper.

“The criminal justice system should be reserved for people who endanger public safety,” Vance wrote.  “It should not be perceived as a collection agency for the MTA or other government entities.”

Source:  Daily News

Photo Credit:  Getty Images

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