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Malfunctioning subway turnstiles prompt mass fare-beating

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

MetroCard turnstiles at the downtown F stop at 23rd Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan would not let most commuters swipe in during rush hour on Monday evening.

Dozens of travelers entered by the exit door. Others jumped over the turnstiles. This part of the station has neither a booth nor a MTA clerk due to earlier cutbacks. The forced fare jumping repeated with each train as tired commuters were anxious to get home.

On Tuesday, three of the five turnstiles at the same subway stop still would not let certain commuters swipe in. The problem appears to affect those with unlimited MetroCards most.

One past MTA chairman said commuters purchase unlimited MetroCards for convenience. These commuters were clearly inconvenienced.

I have an unlimited card. After 6 swipes, I got in but a commuter right behind me had to swipe more than 30 times.

MTA chief spokesman Adam Lisberg said that he wishes these problems didn't happen, but that commuters should not just jump the turnstile. But at this busy 23rd Street stop, also a PATH connection, the only booth is across the street on the uptown side, which is in another tunnel.

After we alerted the MTA, the agency said a day later that it repaired the turnstiles on 23rd Street. The turnstiles just needed their magnetic heads cleaned, said a spokesman, who insisted the MetroCard system does not have widespread problems.

On the way back to Fox 5, we passed by 35th Street and 1st Avenue. Two MetroCard dispensers there were broken. Only the dispenser taking coins worked. Commuters were telling the bus driver they could not buy a MetroCard and rode for free.

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