The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s effort to crack down on fare evasion in New York City’s subway system with private unarmed security guards is costing the agency $1 million per month.
Richard Davey, president of the MTA’s subway and bus systems, revealed the cost Monday during a City Council meeting, according to the New York Daily News.
"It’s a wise investment," Davey reportedly said, noting that the MTA has seen an uptick in fare revenue.
More than 200 of the private guards have been assigned to 14 troubled stations to combat fare evasion, which will cost the MTA an estimated $500 million this year, Fox5 NY reports.
"It's a free-for-all," Michael Kemper, the acting chief of the New York City Police Department’s transit bureau, said during the meeting, according to the station. "A lot of people aren't paying. I was in full uniform and people were going through the turnstile without paying. People were asking me to help them go through without paying, hold the door for them and giving me attitude when I closed the door."
Transit crime is also up more than 30% this year compared to last year, Fox5 NY reported, citing NYPD statistics.
But not everyone is on board with the money going into the anti-fare evasion effort.
"This is a waste of taxpayers’ money," Brooklyn Councilwoman Darlene Mealy was quoted by the Daily News as saying, adding that the MTA, instead of bringing in guards, should "just hire more transit workers."