NYPD Crackdown on Subway Riders Using More Than 1 Seat


subwayThere was a 17% spike last year in the number of summonses issued to subway riders who occupy more than one seat. Between January and November 2009, transit police issued 8,700 tickets to commuters who exceeded their legally mandated one seat allotment, either through reclining or foot-propping or bag-resting. That’s 1,300 more tickets than they issued for the offense in the same time period in 2008, and it stands in contrast to a decline or plateau in subway summonses in every other category. Seat hogging is punishable by a $50 fine, but many commuters say they’re being ticketed during late-night commutes in mostly empty trains.

Last year one subway rider was outraged during his 5:30 a.m. commute in Queens when a plainclothes cop entered his subway car at Roosevelt Avenue and ordered all seven male riders off the train. All of them either had their feet up or were reclining or resting bags on empty seats. And in November, an FIT student got back-to-back summonses at the 96th Street station for taking up too much space at around 2:30 a.m. On the second occasion he said he merely had his legs crossed, and he claims the officer told him, “Recently we’ve been told to write tickets instead of give warnings for this type of thing,” adding that they need to hit quotas.

Fighting the tickets isn’t easy either; a recent report found that you have less than a one-in-five chance at winning your case in a hearing. The NYPD declined to speak with the Daily News about the summons uptick or discuss why summonses for every other category either declined or were flat last year.

{Gothamist/Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}