The Subtle Art of Jumping The Turnstile
Disclaimer: I only recommend this for the truly rebellious broke-ass. If caught, you can be currently fined $100. A bill was recently passed by the State Senate that would potentially increase this fine to $500. Beware.
Have you ever been stuck with no MetroCard and no money? Better yet, Have you ever been ready to buy a MetroCard, only to get hit with the infamous : NO BILLS ACCEPTED notice that scrolls by on those MetroCard vending machines? No problem, folks because I have come up with an old and tried solution that has been passed down from generation to generation; Just jump the turnstile.
Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking, But, Mr. Minimum Wage, isn’t that illegal?” Well, yes it is, Sally. (Sidebar: Drugs are also illegal.) It still goes without saying that sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Whether it’s meant to save you a little money or avoid being late for work/school, jumping that turnstile is sometimes your only choice.
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A report in the Daily News last summer found that New Yorkers who consistently jumped and avoided MetroCards altogether saved up to $500 a year. Yikes, that’s a laptop right there. The report also claimed that on average, a summons would only be handed out every six weeks. Time to do the math children. Weekly MetroCard ($29) x 6 weeks = $174. The fine for jumping the turnstile is currently $100. I think I’ll take the $100 fine every six weeks.
Now I know your feeling rather rebellious (or bored) but this reckless act does come with its consequences and obstacles.
Obstacle #1: You Can’t Jump A Turnstile If There Is No Turnstile
Sometimes you might find yourself facing one of those revolving door entrances. If someone can figure out a way to get through that, that isn’t Alex Mack, then please demonstrate. I’ll wait.
Obstacle #2: The MTA Worker In The Booth That Cares Too Much
This is a rare species. They’re almost extinct in this cynical world we live in today. Still, there is always one person that cares a little too much about their job. You probably work with someone like that right now. The self-righteous asshole that takes their job too seriously and does everything by the book.
My recommendation is to just avoid an entrance with a station booth. These are now becoming rare in certain stations because of those metro-card vending machines, so essentially you’re in luck.
But if you must jump or find yourself on a station above ground, use the MTA’s newest technology against them. Check the time of arrival. Come back at the time that the train arrives, jump and run into the train as fast as you can. You can give the MTA worker the finger as an added bonus or to make yourself feel cool.
Obstacle #3: Uh-Oh, There Go The Boys In Blue
If you’re an expert or at least know you’re route and the stations you frequent, you should be familiar with the presence of law enforcement in said station(s). If you don’t, just pay closer attention and just keep an eye out for the cops. Too many cops in one entrance? Walk over to the alternative and desolate entrance a couple of blocks over to do your jumping.
On the other hand, a subway turnstile-hopping guru won’t be on the look out for the obvious uniformed officers, they’ll be watching for the undercover cops. You can usually see these guys/gals, if not for their bulging bullet-proof vests, then by their obvious demeanor. Something is always a bit off about their aura. Other times they give themselves away by standing too close and watching and waiting for someone to do something stupid.
(Hint: The bigger and busier stations with many train lines such as Times Square are usually a haven for police presence .)
So what have we learned here people? You can save money, even if you’re caught and fined. You have three main obstacles to avoid and the State Senate passed a law in an attempt to take more money out of your pockets. Oh yeah, one last thing. Teenagers and children are usually the fare-hopping offenders, so us 20+ year-olds are somewhat in the clear.
Photo Credit: Mayorsam.blogspot.com