New York City To Expand AI Technology To Track Fare Evaders


To buckle down on fare evaders at hundreds of New York’s subway stations, the city’s Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) is expanding its use of AI surveillance.

By incorporating AI into cameras already in place throughout the stations, the advanced technology will be able to track and accumulate data on when fare evasion happens and how it is being done.

While AI’s utilization is only presently found at seven stations, according to Business Insider, 24 more stations will have AI surveillance by the end of 2023

The MTA is trying to combat fare evasion, which has cost the agency more than $700 million, with methods such as prevention and price increases.

The specific AI technology stems from Spanish software company AWAAIT and its AI called “DETECTOR,” which conducts alerts when someone tries to ride for free, thus giving ticket inspectors the ability to intervene. However, an MTA spokesperson was adamant that the version currently in place at NYC stations only counts the number of fare evasions occurring,

“It’s not alerting any NYPD officers in real time if fare evasion takes place, it’s not used to ping an officer and have them go after a person who fare evades. That’s not how the system works. It’s just our effort to see what is happening out there.”

The usage of this condensed form of the DETECTOR does provide more clarity to the transportation agency on the logistics of fare evasion, detailing a report on how frequently it is conducted and through which methods, the most being through emergency exits and around school dismissal times, respectively.

While the information is already leading to solutions for the MTA to counteract the petty crime, what this will mean for more vulnerable groups is still up in the air.

AM NY confirmed that arrests for fare evasions are already predominately Black and brown individuals, and further AI surveillance could increase that statistic even more. As technology to limit fare evasion becomes more advanced and widespread, the dismantling of reasons behind the correlation of fare evasion and arrests by race must be tackled as well.

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