MTA Failing to Collect Nearly Half Of Subway Fines

ALBANY (AP) -

The MTA failed to collect nearly half the fines and fees owed by fare dodgers, graffiti scribblers, litterers and other violators, New York auditors reported Thursday.

More than $13 million out of $30.4 million owed for more than 324,000 summonses over 30 months remains uncollected. The MTA generally stops trying 18 months after a fine is issued.

“Fines are meant to deter bad behavior,” state Comptroller Thomas Dinapoli said. “But when Transit fails to enforce its own fines, it risks sending the message that its rules are made to be broken.”

The Transit Adjudication Bureau’s ability to collect fines depends on reaching violators by phone and mail. Auditors said data is often inaccurate. Checking 150 unpaid fines, they found 60 had the wrong addresses.

The MTA called the audit’s math fuzzy, factoring in the 15 percent of cases that actually had been dismissed.

“The comptroller’s report is akin to trying to judge a car’s speed performance while it’s having a tire changed,” said spokesman Kevin Ortiz.