AdviceFinanceNew York

The Subtle Art of Jumping The Turnstile

Sign up for the best newsletter EVER!

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.

Best Newsletter Ever!

Join our weekly newsletter so we can send you awesome freebies, weird events, incredible articles, and gold doubloons (note: one of these is not true).

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:

Like this article? Make sure to sign up for our mailing list so you never miss a goddamn thing!
Previous post

FREE Screening of “On the Street,” Tomorrow at the New York Public Library

Next post

How to Get Over Your Seasonal Affective Disorder and Pretend Like It’s Always Summer

Enrique Grijalva - Mr. Minimum Wage

Enrique Grijalva - Mr. Minimum Wage

My father came, my mother saw...and I conquered. I encourage children to do drugs, I buy alcohol for teenagers, and I drink beer with the homeless. In my spare time, I attend art galleries for the FREE booze while rubbing elbows with modish elephants. I also hammer six-inch nails into small penises. Stuart knighted me as Broke-Ass King of New York. You've been warned.


  1. Steve
    January 31, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Looks like fun. It IS fun!.

  2. Nat Turner
    May 1, 2015 at 10:20 am

    To those who find this in 2015:

    Eff the MTA and their fare hikes. Cost of living rises, wages don’t. We cry out in poverty, real poverty, but no one listens. MTA cries poverty, all crocodile tears, and they continue to hike fares every 2 years. They say they have no money, but then we read about all the wasted spending and contractors milking the clock. There is no reason for a regular MTA worker to make $130,000 from overtime. Hire more people then! Heck, just look at a crew next time you see them doing track work. 15 to a crew, and only 2 are actually working. The rest are sitting on their asses. Is that the overtime they are “working”? We all know too about the executive pay, and the way they unfairly pick contractors to help out their buddies.

    If you’ve had enough, save your money. Become a jumper. Eff the MTA. No one looks out for us. We have to look out for ourselves.

    Save your money! To all potential jumpers, here are some tips:

    1. Know your route. Know when the cops patrol and when they don’t. Know where they hide, what time of day, etc. It is ingrained in us to fear them. Fear cops, fear government, etc. In actuality, they can’t patrol 24/7, especially not in Queens,Brooklyn, and the Bx. It’s less risky than it seems – if you know your route. So do your research.

    2. If your regular station has high security, walk to the next station. Alternate between these 2 (or 3) stations so you don’t become a regular anywhere.

    3. Keep a low profile. Jumping with a station attendant isn’t hard. Time it when the train is pulling in. They won’t have time to react – if they even care, which most don’t. They are bound to that booth. If they are not there, and something goes wrong, they can kiss that cushy union job bye-bye. They won’t risk it going after you. And if you time it right, you’ll only be exposed for 5-10 seconds – hardly enough time to react. Just don’t make eye contact or flip them the finger. That’s just antagonizing them, and might push them into caring, which is bad for you if you use that station often.

    4. Try going through back entrances, the emergency doors. Most have handles. Yank the shit out of the handles. If you’re lucky, it’ll pop open. I’ve found 3 at least so far.

    5. Go in through emergency exits when crowds or people are leaving, that way the door is open for you.

    6. Avoid jumping in Manhattan. It might look without cops, but they hide out and watch with cameras. For example, the F line – 2nd Ave station has one back entrance that looks desolate. In fact, cops hide out in the station closet. The door looks unassuming, but they do surveillance from there. I saw it with my own eyes. Avoid Manhattan.

    7. If you must use a Manhattan station, go in through the less used sides. Meaning…if you’re coming home from work, going back to Brooklyn or Queens, use the Manhattan-bound entrance. Why? Less people there, therefore less potential for cops, undercovers and uniforms alike. Always use the entrances with less foot traffic. The more foot traffic, the more potential for cops.

    8. Avoid jumping in black, brown, and poor neighborhoods. Cops like to patrol these areas. They won’t look for people to pinch in a yuppy, gentrified neighborhood. It’s known they police more in black, brown, and poor neighborhoods. So avoid where they go.

    9. Be quick. Don’t stand around hesitating. Just go in, yanking or jumping, do it like you own the place. Don’t make eye contact with anyone, and keep it moving. Have the look of a bad ass after you do it, 9/10 times no one will say anything to you.

    10. Avoid people. Try not to do it when people are around, because one might be a cop or a snitch. But if you can’t avoid people, then avoid men in their 20s-40s. those are most likely to be cops and/or snitches. Wait for them to pass through. Kill time and don’t look suspicious by pretending to search for your wallet, checking your balance, etc. women, older people, teenagers, kids, etc. all pose no threat.

    11. Spot cops. This takes practice. But if you can spot them, you avoid getting caught. At Queensboro Plaza on the E, during the PM rush hour, you’ll get a good taste of undercover cops. Look for a man in his 20s-40s, bulky chest, wearing way more layers than the weather calls for, standing around/near the turnstiles and/or stairwells, observing people. That’s how I spot them.

    12. When in doubt, observe while avoiding detection. The way you do this is by slowing your pace of walking, so you have more time to scan the area; use the automated machines. At the top of the machine is a reflective surface. Use that mirror to watch behind you, focus on anyone who looks like a cop, and pretend you are using the machine while observing them.

    13. Get over your fears. It’s scary at first. you’ll get used to it. Note: there is a difference between irrational fear of getting caught and a 6th sense of danger, someone watching you, etc. In time you’ll understand the difference. Ignore the fear, listen to the 6th sense.

    • Kelly Mitchell
      January 16, 2018 at 5:57 pm

      you can still jump in Manhattan but you have to find the right spots to enter, for example, at the 59st Columbus circle subway station (whos main entrance is very busy) there is a secret turnstile entrance on the south eastern side of the circle, barely anyone uses that entrance, and there’s no booth. Another good spot is in port authority, which is also a packed busy subway location but the furthest south turnstiles are pretty safe because of not many people and they are angled away from the view of people.
      Another secret, 97% of bus drivers will allow you a ride for free, just be the last on line and mumble something like “can i have a ride” and they will either nod or look away and close the door. (im 18 now So i dont know if this works for older people but when i get older i shall see)