Whether you’ve asked someone to lend a hand yourself or been hounded by beggars looking to get a swipe of your Unlimited Ride MetroCard, you’ve probably got some experience of trying to catch a free subway ride.
But what was once an act that could land you in the back of a squad car is now only punishable by a fine or court summons.
The act of letting another person use your card is not an offense and does not break any of the terms listed on the MTA’s website. The crime has always been “asking”, which constitutes panhandling and obstructing the free movement of subway passengers.
The Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP) – an anti-police corruption group – pointed out that police time was wasted on 29,000 arrests in 2015, which is more than any other type of arrest. They believe bigger reforms are necessary.
Director Robert Gangi said: “Being arrested is a difficult and harrowing experience. The painful irony of fining someone who can’t pay $2.75 for the subway, is that you’re putting an additional hardship on people who are already poor.”
Featured cover image: New York Daily News