SEPTA Fare Jumpers Caught On Tape; Big Crackdown Under Way - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

SEPTA Fare Jumpers Caught On Tape; Big Crackdown Under Way

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Surveillance video released by SEPTA shows a man jumping a fare. Surveillance video released by SEPTA shows a man jumping a fare.
CENTER CITY -

They're not exactly Olympic caliber hurdlers, but SEPTA police say they're fare jumpers caught on video tape showing off their skills on the Broad Street and Market- Frankford lines.

"There's no free ride on SEPTA, said Chief Tom Nestel of the SEPTA Police. "People that don't pay to get on the system are getting on the system to engage in other activity that's gonna be a problem for our riders."

SEPTA Police have a new initiative to crack down on fare evaders who are ripping off the system while legitimate SEPTA riders are paying the full fare. So far this year, arrests are way up.

"Last month we successfully apprehended 151 people for failing to pay," Nestel told FOX 29.

Using their $50 million network of cameras, SEPTA police have targeted several stations where they say chronic fare jumping is a problem. The Hunting Park station on the Broad Street line and the 52nd and 56th Street stations on the Market-Frankford line.

"The folks that are jumping those turnstiles, once they get through, they think they're safe and free and clear," Nestel said. "It couldn't be further from the truth, because we have them on camera and our officers are waiting."

Surveillance video showed that in addition to the straight up turnstile hurdle, there's the two handed turnstile vault and we'll call this one, the last minute, 'oh the train is coming squeeze play.'

Riders who pay the full fare everyday commuting back and forth to work and home think the crackdown is needed.

"If I have to pay, everybody else should have to pay," one rider at 56th Street told FOX 29.

"If it's something that's gonna be positive and make SEPTA run better than I'm for it," another rider added.

Nestel says jumping the turnstiles and evading the fare will most likely land you right in the waiting arms of SEPTA undercover officers and it will hit you hard in the wallet.

"Instead of paying your $2 fare, you'll be paying a $100 to $300 fine," he cautioned.

Nestle says SEPTA has 12,000 cameras and 1,100 live video feeds at its headquarters on Market Street. "You jump the turnstile, SEPTA will make you famous," he added

He says the crackdown stops other nuisance crimes like harassment, drinking, even cell phone theft. SEPTA riders told us if the crackdown can help keep fares lower too, they're all for it.

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