MTA Hustlers Profit From Selling Tourists’ Leftover Rides


Aw, shucks, friendly tourists are helping criminals make a quick buck on the subway — so gosh-darn nice of them, eh? Fare hustlers are positioning themselves at the two MTA hubs in Queens that connect to the AirTrain to catch folks en route to JFK on their way back to the Midwest (or wherever nice people come from) and ask for their leftover Metrocards, since they’ll be useless outside of New York anyway.

The Daily News caught up with one of the “swipers” who said, “What are the tourists going to do with them? Throw them in the garbage? I can hustle and make a buck.” Once these thrifty New Yorkers collect valid cards, they sell the swipes to other subway customers for less than the usual $2.25 a pop, completing the circle of subway sharing.

These ride-peddlers are especially convenient at subway entrances that don’t have card machines, like the entrance to the N, R on 22nd Street, because even typically law-abiding citizens tend to welcome criminal activity when it saves them from walking a block, missing a train, being late for work, and spending an extra buck or so — not that we would know.

People helping people on the subway, it’s heartwarmingly symbiotic, though still illegal. Police periodically catch the MTA card beggars, but they usually get away with only a slap on the wrist, according to the Daily News. So, the chain continues…