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The subway and its discontents


To the editor:

The MTA apparently will pay up to $1 million to a psychologist to better understand what motivates turnstile jumpers. 

Generally, the condition of society depends on the ethical nature of the individual and many times society’s problems can be traced back to human nature. As a result, a psychological analysis of crime is always appropriate although many times not the solution.  

It is imperative to examine the root causes of crime from a psychiatric and psychological approach and perspective, however, a psychiatric analysis of fare evasion is neither practical nor likely to succeed and I suspect is only being considered in an attempt to reduce police engagement with the public for what is perceived as a minor offense. 

Usually, fare evasion is not behavior that results from unconscious memories or thoughts. It’s simply an easily accomplished opportunity to ride the trains and buses for free because of the reluctance to use police to enforce the law.  

Why aren’t psychiatrists called upon to analyze the motivation of motorists who park illegally, use license plate covers to avoid bridge tolls and red light cameras or don’t pay the MuniMeter?  

I submit because most of that enforcement is not through police engagement. If there was a way to cite a fare beater with a ticket through the mail without police engagement there would be no talk of hiring a psychiatrist to analyze turnstile jumping.  

The root cause of fare evasion is not a psychological issue, it’s an enforcement issue. Most people obey the law and pay their fare, but some don’t and have to be compelled.  

That’s why it’s called law enforcement. 

Marc Bullaro 


2 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • Well put. And unfortunate for the system that needs better ways to make things fair and proper. While one group pays the other doesn’t and aren’t Transit employees. Is all about enforcement.

    Wednesday, June 12 Report this

  • dkagan17

    A ridiculous study and waste of money. It’s a crime of opportunity. There used to be consequences for fare beating. People would be fined and/or arrested. Now that that the politicians have bent over backwards to coddle criminals and have made cops out to be the bad guys, there is no enforcement.

    Thursday, June 13 Report this