New AI system aims to put the brakes on subway fare evaders in New York City

New York City’s subway is tackling fare evasion with AI-powered surveillance software. The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has installed the technology at seven undisclosed stations to track those who avoid paying their fares.

With an estimated revenue loss of $285 million in 2022 due to fare evasion, the MTA expects to expand the system to about 24 more stations by the end of the year. Spanish AI developer AWAAIT created the software, which detects fare evaders and shares images of them with nearby station agents.

The AI ​​system doesn’t report fare evaders to law enforcement, but it’s unclear if that could change in the future. The MTA says it’s being used “essentially as a counting tool” to assess evasion methods and peak times. The number of police officers in NYC subway stations has increased, leading to more fare evasion arrests, “with a disproportionate impact on black and Hispanic riders,” according to The Verge.

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