The cost of jumping a turnstile could soon be much higher. Yesterday the State Senate passed a bill which would allow the MTA to raise the current maximum fine for farebeaters from $100 to $500 and the penalty for not paying from $50 to $100. Suddenly an unlimited Metrocard looks affordable?

The move to raise the fine comes after a study found that in 2009 there were 18.5 million fares skipped, with an average of 50,684 people jumping turnstiles each day. "The report estimated that a routine offender could expect to get a $100 citation once every six to 13 weeks, which is actually cheaper than spending the $162 it costs to buy six weekly metrocards." That's a tremendous amount of money for the cash-strapped MTA to leave on the table!

"The MTA and its fare-paying riders shouldn’t have to spend tens of millions of dollars more each year paying for other people’s illegal free rides. At a time when every dollar counts, the MTA needs stronger tools to discourage fare-evasion." Senator Charles Fuschillo (R-LI), the Transportation Committee chairman and sponsor of the bill, said after the vote. In order for the legislation to become law it now needs to be passed by the Assembly and signed by Governor Cuomo.