By Pat Ciarrocchi
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The message from SEPTA is”There’s no free ride.”
SEPTA fare evaders, usually young men and women, are being put on notice; if they jump a turnstile to avoid paying the fair, SEPTA is watching.
SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas Nestel showed media surveillance video projected on giant screens, which displayed individuals using every technique in the book to escape paying the two dollar-a-ride fare.
“The main one is to stand out of view of the cashier and wait until the train comes in, and then run at full speed, hurdle the turnstile and head for the train,” said Chief Nestel.
SEPTA now has 1,100 live feed cameras as part of a $50 million video and camera monitoring initiative to catch fare jumpers and keep the system safe for riders.
“It’s been our experience that people who don’t pay to get on the system get on the system to engage in other activity,” said Chief Nestel.
Other activities like cell phone theft which has become a growing problem.
In March, 156 people were apprehended for failing to pay. The fines range from $100 to $300.
Since the expanded surveillance system went into effect arrests are three times more for fare jumping and five times more for quality of life violations like drunkenness, harassment and aggressive panhandling, compared to last year.
Chief Nestel says SEPTA has cameras everywhere.
“You jump, you hurdle that turnstile, we’re going to make your famous,” he says.