As of this week, it is quietly approved policy for MTA customers to “swipe it forward.” As a customer leaves a station through a turnstile, they can swipe their Metrocard to allow access to waiting customers. This has been a point of contention for years. As recent as last year, NYPD were arresting violators of this MTA policy, as many as 800 a month. The simple act of asking for a swipe or even making a kind of sign language to indicate the request was a prosecutable offense.
Through a concerted and consistent effort, much of it online, activists have affected change. Using the #SwipeItForward hashtag to encourage civil disobedience in the months leading up to the official policy change, activists on Twitter have highlighted the need for new considerations. Paired with on-site protests at MTA stations, their statement was simple: “No one should be arrested or go to jail for $2.75.”
The change in attitude aligns with MTA’s recent increase in fares.
Why Is This Hot?
Much like the easing of industry attitudes about home-taping on cassette decks in the 1980s, this is an industry accepting the profound share-ability of their own technology. Easing prosecution of a difficult to enforce rule allows the MTA to concentrate on other customer service efforts, while giving them the appearance of benevolence, improving community relations in the process.