New York City: Begging the Question

Begging the Question

Though often hellish for riders, New York City's subways have long been a heaven for panhandlers, who can enjoy a captive clientele of hundreds of passengers when they board a train. (Some riders, after all, are not hardened against being dunned for donations.) Because these discomforting confrontations tend to drive down ridership while increasing panhandlership, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority last year decided to enforce rules that ban begging underground as well as in other public-transport facilities.

Then in January a federal judge struck down the authority's new policy, ruling that it violated the beggars' right to free speech. But last week...

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