Bx12 an easy target for sneaky riders

Sneaky Bronxites that ride the Bx12 Select Bus are getting back at the MTA the only way they can: by not paying to ride.

The Bx12 select bus service, which runs along Fordham Road and Pelham Parkway, has had a problem with people not paying for months, and the problem does not appear to be going away.

After an anonymous caller said that he sees people hop onto the bus without paying on a daily basis, a trip to the Bx12 stop located right by the Pelham Bay IRT #6 subway station on Monday, August 3 revealed that indeed, riders are having no trouble riding for free. Of the 16 people that boarded one bus, seven did not pay. Because the SBS operates on an honor system that allows riders to get on through a number of different doors at the middle or back of the bus, people are able to hop on without giving their stub to anyone.

The SBS concept has been frequently criticized by the media and the New York public, as it revolves around bus riders paying their fare at a little hub before they board. They receive a ticket that is supposed to be used at that precise stop within one hour of purchase, but many people seem to buy one ticket and repeatedly flash it, some of them for days in a row.

Only three of the riders that slipped in at the back for free were happy to discuss the process, as long as they weren’t named.

Anna R., a Fordham student, said she believes the issue isn’t people breaking the honor system, but drivers having no time or resources to check the tickets. “It’s like, people realized that if they pay, they get on and never show their ticket to anyone or have to insert it anywhere,” she said, “so I think that even people who are honest, they just stopped paying. I stopped.”

Anna’s brother Juan echoed the sentiment and said, “I felt bad at first, but what can you do. I already pay so much when I ride the subway, so this is like one little thing that I get a break on.”

A third rider, who said his name was “Mim,” spoke a bit more harshly about the MTA. “What the hell do they think people are going to do? No one is really a bad person here, either, it’s no one’s fault, because of course people are going to ride for free if they can and of course the bus driver is gonna do his job and just drive, he can’t focus on checkin’ people.”

It’s not as though there is no threat of punishment whatsoever. Riders are supposed to keep proof of their purchase on them in case of a surprise inspection, according to the MTA’s web page that describes the SBS service.

According to the MTA, on a regular basis there are police officers that keep an eye out for cheaters that board without purchasing a ticket.

“I’ve never seen cops around when I get on,” insisted Juan R.

All of this trouble, meanwhile, only adds to other turmoil the MTA has faced in the Bronx recently, the other drama resulting from its decision, now infamous among locals, to cut the Bx14 bus service completely and replace it with an expanded Bx8 route.

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