At least one member of the MTA board believes shaming is a powerful deterrent, and says she wants to give it a try.
Sarah Feinberg, the chairperson of the MTA’s Bus and Transit Committee, suggested trying the tactic during one of the group’s regular monthly board meeting.
“I would like to see us capturing this behavior on camera and posting it publicly,” she said. “When people are publicly embarrassed by this kind of behavior, it helps address it.”
Feinberg, who headed the Federal Railroad Administration from 2015 to 2017, was tapped by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year to fill a vacancy on the MTA board, according to the New York Post. “During the meeting, she called Cuomo’s new crackdown — announced last week — on fare evasion and transit violence “a long time coming,” the paper added.
Cuomo recently announced a new crackdown on fare-beaters and transit violence. As part of it, he has ordered 500 police and other law enforcement officers to deal with increasing incidents of assaults on transit workers and fare evasion on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s subways and buses.
“The new patrols will include 200 New York City police officers, paid for with city funds, 200 MTA officers and 100 bridge and tunnel officers,” Bloomberg reported. “The agency will use video cameras at some subway gates to support the increase in personnel, although authorities are not sure how they can best be employed, MTA Chairman Pat Foye said.”
Feinberg is quoted in the Post as saying that the plan feels like a very comprehensive program. It includes, among other steps, strengthening law enforcement patrols on subways and buses.
“Feinberg said she “would like to see our cameras in stations used” to catch fare beaters,” according to the Post. “The board member also raised concerns on serial transit recidivists. “What can we do to address this issue of folks who are literally entering our system to prey upon people?” she said. Feinberg noted: “We’re in a place where basically nothing has been done this year.”
New York City Major Bill de Blasio, whose deployment of NYPD officers is intrinsic to the effort, did not appear at Monday’s event. “From an undisclosed location, he did provide a statement for a press release that went out after the news conference,” Politico noted: “The additional officers we’re deploying to the subway system will protect riders, prevent fare evasion and respond in emergencies.”