The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has introduced AI-powered surveillance software at several New York City subway stations to combat fare evasion. The software is currently operational at seven undisclosed locations, with around 24 more expected to follow suit by the year’s end.


The move comes after fare evasion cost the MTA an estimated $285 million in 2022. The AI system, developed by Spanish software company AWAAIT, captures images of fare evaders and shares them with nearby station agents this increases operational efficiency.


The MTA, however, clarified the software is primarily a counting tool. It helps determine the number of fare evaders and the most common evasion techniques. Data from the system suggests fare evasion peaks between 3-4 PM and is usually done via emergency gates.


There are concerns regarding privacy implications as the system records videos using the transit system’s surveillance cameras. These recordings are stored on MTA servers for a limited period. It’s unclear if the system may eventually share fare evasion incidents with NYC law enforcement.


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