Why Swipe When It’s Cheaper to Hop?

Subway riders in a different time

Petty crime does pay, or at least can help a subway rider come out slightly ahead. It seems turnstile jumping is cheaper than a buying a swipe – even if you get caught.

It all comes down to averages and economics — doesn’t it always.

If a rider routinely hops the turnstile, he or she can expect to get a $100 fine every six to thirteen weeks. If you buy a weekly unlimited Metrocard at $29 per week, that works out to $174 after six weeks.

Do the math.

According to The Daily News, The MTA estimates that people didn’t swipe18.5 million times in 2009. Cops gave out 120,000 summonses.

The MTA is cracking down, slightly. An MTA spokesperson tells the News that they have given out 37,825 summonses so far this year – which is a 1.7% increase from last year. Still sounds like the fare evader will come out ahead.

It may make economic sense, but getting caught sounds embarrassing. And turnstile jumping in a summer dress would be awkward.

Also, talking to police and getting issued summonses takes time. The morning commute is already long enough. Ultimately, it comes down to priorities. What’s worth more – time and the small amount of personal dignity you have managed to hold on to, or saving a few bucks and beating the system?

Why Swipe When It’s Cheaper to Hop?