Perhaps stoking the fires of mayoral candidacy, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly reacted to yesterday's news that subway fare-beating is the most cost-effective way to commute by calling for lawmakers to raise the MTA's current $100 fine for not paying. "I think the state legislature should consider raising the fine," Kelly told the Daily News, "It would probably be a good idea." OH, SNAP! You hear that, scofflaws? You'll be cowering from the long arm of the law in no time, "probably."
State Senator Charles Fuschillo agrees that raising the fine is the best way to deter fare beating: "If the fines increase and people see they will be paying a lot more than the cost of a pass, then they will think twice." Perhaps, at least until the MTA's fare increases once again make jumping the turnstile more cost-effective (will that happen in 2013 or 2015?).
The NYPD may also arrest a fare-beater and charge them with a misdemeanor, but that usually happens when the frugal delinquent in question has a criminal record. That strategy would require more boys in blue to be underground, instead of keeping our mozzarella safe or punishing those damned terrorist tote bags. Sophie's Choice! It's worth noting that this whole debate may have been avoided had Albany passed a 2009 measure introduced by the MTA to raise the fine to $250. But then again, why would the state punish children?