Fare-beaters beware! Or don’t, because if you need to travel along the B44 route, your delinquency is going to be encouraged.
As we’ve mentioned before, the B44 Express route along Nostrand Avenue, Rogers Avenue and Bedford Avenue will soon be replaced with with Select Bus Service / Bus Rapid Transit system, an experimental service aimed at speeding up the city’s notoriously slow bus routes and easing congestion. The system will feature dedicated bus lanes, larger capacity vehicles and off-board fare payment.
It’s that last bit that’s coming under fire across the city. A Manhattan spur of the service, the M15 Select, launched last month, and after a few weeks NYC Transit Special Inspectors began handing out about 40 farebeating tickets a day. Those inspectors are under instructions from hire-ups to be lenient and use common sense, not giving tickets to those who seem genuinely confused by the new system.
“This is not by any stretch of the imagination zero-tolerance enforcement,” Vincent DeMarino, agency vice president of security, told the Daily News. “We teach our people to use common sense, good judgment and discretion.”
To help fuel a crackdown on the rascals, the MTA has assigned an additional 30 inspectors and four supervisors to the M15 Select route alone.
But a crackdown hardly seems like a long-term deterrent. After all, the city’s test route in the Bronx – the Bx12 Select – was still plagued a year after its 2008 launch. When the MTA first rolled out the service, Daily News reporters found scores of riders riding without paying. A year later, after an MTA crackdown that saw 6,532 summonses carrying $100 fines, the reporters found little improvement.
So, it looks like a preposterous fare collection system is going to continue to cost this “innovative” initiative thousands a year – if not more. Meanwhile, the MTA is continuing to ram through the plan despite opposition from Southern Brooklyn’s communities about inefficiencies, increased costs and a decrease in available parking that will hurt local businesses.
Luckily, the MTA is holding an Open House on Monday, November 15, to show off their Nostrand Avenue corridor plans to locals and solicit input (6:30 p.m. at the Brooklyn College Student Center, Campus Road and East 27th Street, Bedford Lounge, 2nd Floor).
Because we all know how well the MTA listens to public input…