Staten Island Railway Looks To Close Walking Loophole

Have you ever wondered why some Staten Island commuters have nice legs? Maybe you thought it was their dedication to a lower body workout that helped carve out that nice shape or attention to detail. If you thought that, you were most likely wrong. The most likely answer is the dedicated percentage of commuters who use the famous “S.I. Railway Walking Loophole” to avoid paying the $2 fare. The railway only collects the $2 fare from passengers boarding & exiting at the St. George Terminal. The loophole to avoid paying is to get off one station prior at Tompkinsville & walk to the terminal a .5 mile away.

Unfortunately the loophole might be getting closed very soon if the railway has its way. With more on that story, I turn your attention to 2 different reports. The original report comes from The Staten Island Advance:

The hike just got longer for Staten Island Railway passengers who get off at Tompkinsville to avoid paying the $2 fare: The gate leading to Victory Boulevard was closed after yesterday morning’s rush hour and folks were shunted to the more-distant Hannah Street gate.

And there’s more bad news: Their free ride is going the way of the steam locomotive.

The city has begun construction of a new, wider platform and station house, which will contain turnstiles and MetroCard vending machines. The five turnstiles, which are expected to go into operation next spring, will require that passengers swipe their MetroCards to enter or leave the station.

At that point, the eight-minute, fare-saving walk between Tompkinsville and the St. George Ferry Terminal will become obsolete.

The turnstiles will be monitored by closed-circuit televisions observed by MTA police, and passengers can expect targeted enforcement of the new fare system from day one, said Railway President John Gaul.

St. George is currently the only station where fares are collected since conductors were phased out in 1997.

Click here for the complete report.

Now onto the second report by Jake Mooney of the New York Times’ City Room Blog:

In these tight economic times, with transportation costs rising, how far will people go to save a few dollars on their commute? For the last 11 years, on Staten Island, the answer appears to be about half a mile — the distance some riders of the local commuter train walk every day to avoid the system’s $2 fare.

By this time next year, we’ll know if they are willing to trek six-tenths of a mile on top of that.

Within a few years, it may become even harder for riders on the Staten Island Railway to get a free ride.

The situation, reported in The Times in 2004, is this: For reasons that are somewhat complex, the only station on the railway where fares are collected — for people getting both on and off trains — is St. George, at the ferry terminal at the island’s northern tip.

Riders who don’t want to pay, then, can get off the train a stop early, at Tompkinsville, and walk the half-mile to the ferry in about 10 minutes, free of charge.

Click here for the complete report.

I suggest you check out the reader feedback to the New York Times piece which has started an interesting debate of free public transportation versus the current pay model.

xoxo Transit Blogger

If you enjoyed this post, please consider to leave a comment or subscribe to the feed and get future articles delivered to your feed reader.


No comments yet.

Leave a comment