Joseph Fan

Reforming the Transit Adjudication Bureau

Black and white image of Joseph Fan
Black and white image of Joseph Fan

Growing up as a low-income New Yorker, Joseph deeply understands the reliance of many New Yorkers on public transportation. Joseph’s vision is that public transportation, that is accessible and free from violence and discrimination, is a human right. The NYC Transit System has a daily ridership of 5 million people. In NYC, a majority of transit summonses are for fare evasion and Black and brown New Yorkers receive 66% of these summons (along with 93% of arrests for fare evasion), spotlighting our current system’s striking inequity. When New Yorkers receive a fare evasion summons, they can either pay a fine ($100, which is over 30X the fare) or appear for a hearing at TAB. If one opts to fight their summons in a hearing, they are seen in front of a hearing officer; however, the hearing officer is employed by the NYC Transit Authority itself (the same institution issuing the summons) and bound by a set of “shadow rules” that limit their ability to be impartial. This makes it nearly impossible for a New Yorker to win a challenge to their summons in this “Kangaroo Court.” 

After graduating law school, Joseph’s career led him to TAB. While in his role as a TAB hearing officer, he was exposed firsthand to how this little-known court negatively impacts the lives of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. His mission is to change this bureau for the better by holding issuing officers accountable for perjury committed, removing shadow rules of the bureau, and improving education about the bureau so New Yorkers with summonses can fight their case fairly.