MTA takes action against 'back-cocking' fare evasion

New York City's subway system has been plagued by a form of fare evasion known as 'back-cocking,' which cost the MTA a staggering $46 million in lost revenue last year. 

Now, officials have announced that they're taking aim at this form of fare evasion. But some claim that poor New Yorkers are ‘forced’ to engage in the practice.

That claim didn't hold water for Richard Davey, the President of New York City Transit during a video presentation on Tuesday. 

"This is a man who can't afford it, in his designer shoes, his thousand-dollar cellphone, and his Hermes tie," Davey said while showing an example of a fare evader at the 59th St. and Lexington Avenue subway station.

In response to the fare evasion problem, the MTA has initiated a comprehensive plan to modify turnstiles and prevent riders from exploiting the system. 240 turnstiles will be modified in the coming months, and the MTA says it will get to all of its nearly 3 and a half thousand turnstiles throughout the rest of the system.

The MTA lost an estimated $690 million last year to fair evasion on subways and buses, with the majority of the losses coming from bus fare evasion.

Meanwhile, on subways, different techniques are being used, including jumping the turnstile and illegal use of the emergency exit.

While 'back cocking' represents a relatively smaller portion of the $690 million in lost revenues last year, the MTA faces deficits in the hundreds of millions in the coming years with the MTA Senior Vice President of Subways, Demitrius Crichlow, saying every fare counts.

"Even if we get a portion of that back, it’ll save the MTA time and money,"