As first reported by the New York Post, the MTA has ordered bus drivers to no longer automatically open the rear and center doors for boarding passengers. The request comes as an effort to help prevent fare evasion.
A memo from the MTA to all bus drivers reads: “‘Effective immediately, to deter fare evasion,’ agency drivers cannot ‘use the rear door toggle switch to open the rear/center automatically, unless it is necessary due to an emergency situation,'” shares the Post.
According to a recent MTA press release, 1 out of 3 bus riders evades the fare. Many passengers do so by entering through the buses rear and center doors.
With buses now being ordered to make people enter through the front door, riders must pass the bus operator and pay the fare before taking a seat.
“The policy is intended to continue to offer customers easy exits while deterring fare evasion by reducing the time that rear doors are open while no one is exiting on local bus routes,” shared MTA spokesperson Aaron Donovan in a statement.
Another action to combat fare evasion has been the creation of the MTA’s Blue-Ribbon Panel. The panel is responsible for creating solutions through education, equity, and enforcement across the five boroughs to reduce fare evasion, along with “technological, design, and personnel solutions.”
“Our New York sense of fairness and community is violated when rule-abiding, honest folks – people who tap or swipe because they know it’s the right thing to do, even if it’s a stretch economically – see others dodging the fare,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber.
Riders who wish to still use the rear doors as an exit may continue to do so, however, they will have to manually open the doors themselves.
The Post notes that the aforementioned memo states that certain bus routes will continue to open their back and center doors automatically.