Bill S756-2013

Increases maximum civil penalties authorized to be imposed for violations of the rules of the New York city transit authority

Increases maximum civil penalties authorized to be imposed for violations of the rules of the New York city transit authority; provides that the notice of violation of any such rule shall be mailed by first class mail, rather than by registered or certified mail.

Details

Actions

  • Apr 22, 2013: referred to corporations, authorities and commissions
  • Apr 22, 2013: DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • Apr 22, 2013: PASSED SENATE
  • Mar 7, 2013: ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • Mar 6, 2013: 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • Mar 5, 2013: 1ST REPORT CAL.159
  • Jan 9, 2013: REFERRED TO TRANSPORTATION

Votes

VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Transportation - Mar 5, 2013
Ayes (17): Fuschillo, Robach, Carlucci, Gallivan, Larkin, Maziarz, Nozzolio, O'Mara, Ranzenhofer, Smith, Young, Zeldin, Dilan, Kennedy, Perkins, Squadron, Stavisky
Ayes W/R (1): Gipson
Excused (1): Diaz

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S756

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public authorities law, in relation to the maximum civil penalties and service by mail provisions of the transit adjudication bureau of the New York city transit authority

PURPOSE: This proposal increases the maximum allowable fine for violations of New York City Transit's Rules of Conduct (the NYCT Rules of Conduct) and for failure to appear at a scheduled Transit Adjudication Board (TAB) hearing or not timely responding, and authorizes service of various notices by first-class mail.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill would amend Public Authorities Law ("PAL") § 1204(5-a) to increase from $100 to $500 the maximum civil fine for violation of NYCT's Rules of Conduct. Section 1 also authorizes TAB to increase from $50 to $100 the penalties for those who violate NYCT's Rules of Conduct for failure to appear or make a timely response before the TAB.

Section 2 of the bill would amend PAL § 1209-a(4)(b) to increase civil penalties for transit infractions from $150 to $600 per infraction.

Section 3 of the bill would amend PAL § 1209-a(7)(a) and (g) to authorize service of notice of TAB hearing dates and orders, by first class mail, rather than registered or certified mail.

Section 4 of the bill would amend PAL § 1209-a(8) to authorize service of notices of TAB Appeals Board hearing dates by first-class mail, rather than registered or certified mail.

Section 5 of the bill provides for an immediate effective date.

EXISTING LAW: PAL §§ 1204.5-a and 1209-a(4)(b) limit the maximum fine for TAB violations to $100, and up to an additional $50 in penalties when respondents fail to adhere to required TAB procedures.

PAL §1209-a(5) requires that notices of violation of NYCT Rules of Conduct be personally served. The pertinent provisions regarding notices of TAB hearing dates, orders of adjournment, notices of decisions and orders, and notices of appeals board appearances are found in § 1209 a(7)(a), 7(g) and 8(d). Though all such notices are strictly administrative, they must be sent by registered or certified mail. By contrast, PAL § 1209-a(9)(c) authorizes TAB to use first-class mail for notices of default and notices of whether a judgment has been entered against a respondent.

JUSTIFICATION: This bill will make Transit Adjudication Bureau (TAB) proceedings more effective by increasing the deterrent effect of its sanctions and

easing the administrative and financial burden those proceedings place on New York City Transit (NYCT).

TAB was established in 1984 to provide a civil alternative to the Criminal Courts for the adjudication of infractions of NYCT's Rules of Conduct. Since its inception, TAB has played a significant role in reducing fare evasion, graffiti, disorderly conduct, littering, and other unlawful activities that impact the safety, security and comfort of NYCT riders. However, despite numerous fare increases and an over 100 percent increase in the consumer price index between 1985 and 2007, the fine structure for violations of NYCT's Rules of Conduct has remained unchanged since its inception.

This has hindered TAB's ability to provide an appropriate deterrent to fare evasion. A recent report issued by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) Subway Division estimated that 18.5 million people entered NYCT stations without paying in 2009, an average of 50,684 a day. These fare evasions cost the MTA $31 million in revenue. Based on 2009 statistics, the Subway Division's report estimated that a routine offender could expect to receive citation once every six to 13 weeks, making it far more economical to pay the $100 fine rather than the $162 cost to purchase six weekly metro cards.

In order for NYCT's Rules of Conduct and TAB to provide an appropriate deterrent effect, it is necessary to adjust the fine structure and give the TAB the flexibility to keep pace with inflation.

In addition, NYCT began a select bus service (bus rapid transit) pilot program in the early summer of 2008. There are two distinctive features of bus rapid transit, both designed to reduce the time needed for passengers to board. Customers will pre-pay and obtain a proof of payment receipt which the will be required to maintain in their possession for the duration of the trip. And, they will be able to board the bus through both the front and rear doors. These features create new challenges in preventing fare evasion -- the ability to impose a far more substantial fine for fare evasion would be a valuable deterrent and adjunct to any enforcement effort.

This bill would also make TAB's proceedings more efficient and less costly by lessening the burden placed on NYCT by notice requirements.

NYCT must personally serve an initial notice of violation of NYCT rules, the most important notice. Nothing in this bill changes that requirement. This bill affects only how NYCT will serve later administrative notices.

Under current law, TAB, like New York City's Parking Violations Bureau and Environmental Control Board, already uses first-class mail for some of these notices: notices of default and notices of whether TAB has entered a judgment against a respondent. But TAB is required to send other administrative notices by certified or registered mail. TAB therefore annually sends out some 20,000 pieces of certified mail at a current cost of approximately $5.25 each. Permitting TAB to serve these kinds of notices by first class mail will save TAB approximately $100,000 annually in postage costs alone.

It makes little sense to require more expensive and sometimes less reliable or less convenient certified or registered mail for the vast majority of TAB notices, but allow first-class mail for other important TAB notices.

In addition to savings in postage, this bill allows TAB to reduce the administrative costs of processing its mail by approximately $6,000 annually. Since 1996, when the MTA began proposing this change, the MTA would have realized approximately $1 million in savings if this straight-forward, administrative-efficiency bill had been enacted into law.

Not only is first-class mail less expensive than certified or registered mail, but it is at least as effective, perhaps more so. Many notices sent by certified mail are returned to TAB because the respondent was not available at the time of home delivery, and did not pick up the certified mail at the post office despite notices left by the letter carrier. Indeed, TAB relies upon first class delivery if it is unable to serve a notice by certified mail. Furthermore, service by first-class mail will benefit recipients, who will avoid the inconvenience of having to retrieve certified mail from the post office.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2012: Passed the Senate (S.5870/A.8807) 2009-10: Similar legislation, S.3618 Referred to Transportation

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

The first-class mail portion of this bill will save the MTA an estimated $100,000 annually, with an additional $6,000 in savings in administrative costs.

The increased fines for TAB violations will likely result in additional TAB revenues that should be partially offset by a reduced number of violations based on the expected deterrent effect of the increased fines.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 756 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sens. FUSCHILLO, GOLDEN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Transportation AN ACT to amend the public authorities law, in relation to the maximum civil penalties and service by mail provisions of the transit adjudi- cation bureau of the New York city transit authority THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 5-a of section 1204 of the public authorities law, as amended by chapter 931 of the laws of 1984, is amended to read as follows: 5-a. To make, amend and repeal rules governing the conduct and safety of the public as it may deem necessary, convenient or desirable for the use and operation of the transit facilities under its jurisdiction, including without limitation rules relating to the protection or mainte- nance of such facilities, the conduct and safety of the public, the payment of fares or other lawful charges for the use of such facilities, the presentation or display of documentation permitting free passage, reduced fare passage or full fare passage on such facilities and the protection of the revenue of the authority. Violations of such rules shall be an offense punishable by a fine of not exceeding twenty-five dollars or by imprisonment for not longer than ten days, or both, or may be punishable by the imposition by the transit adjudication bureau established pursuant to the provisions of this title of a civil penalty in an amount for each violation not to exceed [one] FIVE hundred dollars (exclusive of interest or costs assessed thereon), in accordance with a schedule of such penalties as may from time to time be established by rules of the authority. Such schedule of penalties may provide for the imposition of additional penalties, not to exceed a total of [fifty] ONE HUNDRED dollars for each violation, upon the failure of a respondent in any proceeding commenced with respect to any such violation to make
timely response to or appearance in connection with a notice of violation of such rule or to any subsequent notice or order issued by the authority in such proceeding. There shall be no penalty or increment in fine by virtue of a respondent's timely exercise of his right to a hearing or appeal. The rules may provide, in addition to any other sanc- tions, for the confiscation of tokens, tickets, cards or other fare media that have been forged, counterfeit, improperly altered or trans- ferred, or otherwise used in a manner inconsistent with such rules. S 2. Paragraph b of subdivision 4 of section 1209-a of the public authorities law, as amended by chapter 379 of the laws of 1992, is amended to read as follows: b. To impose civil penalties not to exceed a total of [one] SIX hundred [fifty] dollars for any transit infraction within its jurisdic- tion, in accordance with a penalty schedule established by the authority except that penalties for violations of the health code of the city of New York shall be in accordance with the penalties established for such violations by the board of health of the city of New York, and penalties for violations of the noise code of the city of New York shall be in accordance with the penalties established for such violations by law, and civil penalties for violations of the rules and regulations of the triborough bridge and tunnel authority shall be in accordance with the penalties established for such violations by section [two thousand nine] TWENTY-NINE hundred eighty-five of this chapter; S 3. Paragraphs a and g of subdivision 7 of section 1209-a of the public authorities law, as amended by chapter 379 of the laws of 1992, are amended to read as follows: a. (1) A person charged with a transit infraction returnable to the bureau or a person alleged to be liable in accordance with the provisions of section [two thousand nine] TWENTY-NINE hundred eighty- five of this chapter who contests such allegation shall be advised of the date on or by which he or she must appear to answer the charge at a hearing. Notification of such hearing date shall be given either in the notice of violation or in a form, the content of which shall be prescribed by the executive director or in a manner prescribed in section [two thousand nine] TWENTY-NINE hundred eighty-five of this chapter. Any such notification shall contain a warning to advise the person charged that failure to appear on or by the date designated, or any subsequent rescheduled or adjourned date, shall be deemed for all purposes, an admission of liability, and that a default judgment may be rendered and penalties may be imposed. Where notification is given in a manner other than in the notice of violation, the bureau shall deliver such notice to the person charged, either personally or by [registered or certified] FIRST CLASS mail. (2) Whenever a person charged with a transit infraction or alleged to be liable in accordance with the provisions of section [two thousand nine] TWENTY-NINE hundred eighty-five of this chapter returnable to the bureau requests an alternate hearing date and is not then in default as defined in subdivision six of this section, the bureau shall advise such person personally, or by [registered or certified] FIRST CLASS mail, of the alternate hearing date on or by which he or she must appear to answer the charge or allegation at a hearing. The form and content of such notice of hearing shall be prescribed by the executive director, and shall contain a warning to advise the person charged or alleged to be liable that failure to appear on or by the alternate designated hear- ing date, or any subsequent rescheduled or adjourned date, shall be
deemed for all purposes an admission of liability, and that a default judgment may be rendered and penalties may be imposed. (3) Whenever a person charged with a transit infraction or alleged to be liable in accordance with the provisions of section [two thousand nine] TWENTY-NINE hundred eighty-five of this chapter returnable to the bureau appears at a hearing and obtains an adjournment of the hearing pursuant to the rules of the bureau, the bureau shall advise such person personally, or by [registered or certified] FIRST CLASS mail, of the adjourned date on which he or she must appear to answer the charge or allegation at a continued hearing. The form and content of such notice of a continued hearing shall be prescribed by the executive director, and shall contain a warning to advise the person charged or alleged to be liable that failure to appear on the adjourned hearing date shall be deemed for all purposes an admission of liability, and that a default judgment may be rendered and penalties may be imposed. g. After due consideration of the evidence and arguments, the hearing officer shall determine whether the charges or allegations have been established. No charge may be established except upon proof by clear and convincing evidence except allegations of civil liability for violations of triborough bridge and tunnel authority rules and regulations will be established in accordance with the provisions of section [two thousand nine] TWENTY-NINE hundred eighty-five of this chapter. Where the charges have not been established, an order dismissing the charges or allega- tions shall be entered. Where a determination is made that a charge or allegation has been established or if an answer admitting the charge or allegation has been received, the hearing officer shall set a penalty in accordance with the penalty schedule established by the authority, or for allegations of civil liability in accordance with the provisions of section [two thousand nine] TWENTY-NINE hundred eighty-five of this chapter and an appropriate order shall be entered in the records of the bureau. The respondent shall be given notice of such entry in person or by [certified] FIRST CLASS mail. This order shall constitute the final determination of the hearing officer, and for purposes of review it shall be deemed to incorporate any intermediate determinations made by said officer in the course of the proceeding. When no appeal is filed this order shall be the final order of the bureau. S 4. Paragraph d of subdivision 8 of section 1209-a of the public authorities law, as amended by chapter 379 of the laws of 1992, is amended to read as follows: d. Appeals shall be made without the appearance of the appellant and appellant's attorney unless the presence of either or both are requested by the appellant, appellant's attorney, appellant's parent or guardian if appellant is a minor, or the appeals board. Within twenty days after a request for an appearance, made by or for the appellant, appellant's attorney or the board, the bureau shall advise the appellant, either personally or by [registered or certified] FIRST CLASS mail, of the date on which he or she shall appear. The appellant shall be notified in writing of the decision of the appeals board. S 5. This act shall take effect immediately.

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