The city public advocate said the Metropolitan Transportation Authority should not lay off station agents and instead save money by going after fare beaters.
Bill de Blasio said cutting MTA staffing is a safety risk that makes it easier for riders to skip out on fares, a practice that costs the agency $27 million a year.
“If the subway system is no longer safe, people won’t be riding the subways,” said de Blasio. “You know, for a long time we’ve been encouraging people to use mass transit. It’s actually started to happen and now we’re going to make the subway system less safe? That makes no sense.”
“It’s going to make the system much scarier, much less inviting, much less convenient. The booth clerks and stations agents are the eyes and ears of the subway system,” said Straphangers Campaign spokesman Gene Russianoff.
MTA officials said they are working with the NYPD to target fare beaters, but added it is an age-old problem that has existed regardless of station staffing levels.