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MTA lays out plan for fare hikes

July 28, 2010 3:54:23 PM PDT
Just weeks after massive service cuts, the MTA is considering fare hikes which could force riders to pay considerably more in January.

"The transfers are more. The waiting is more. The fares are more. The service is less," Councilmember James Vacca told the board at a hearing on Wednesday.

This is part of a four year MTA plan which includes fare hikes in 2011 and 2013 on the rails, toll hikes at bridges and tunnels, and a concession from the unions to accept wage freezes two years once their current contract expires later this year.

"It's real easy for a guy that is making four-hundred-forty thousand dollars off the backs of New York state taxpayers to talk about freezing wages of workers that are barely scraping by," John Samuelson of Local 100 TWA said.

The attacks got personal. MTA Chairman Jay Walder, who came to the NYC from London, was the focus of anger by international union leaders who say Walder has a history of pushing service cuts and fare hikes and his proposals in England lead to strikes.

"Unfortunately, he has arrived in New York and he's bringing out the same kind of suffering that London people were going to get, and that's why we prevented," Bob Crow, a British union leader, said.

The proposed fare hikes include limiting rides on 30-day MetroCards to 90, raising the price on those Metro cards by ten dollars to 99 dollars and hiking the price for unlimited ride MetroCard to 104 dollars.

"I think they've had tremendous success with the unlimited fare card, Ridership has skyrocketed," Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign said. But not everyone is blaming the MTA for the problems. Instead, they are pointing the finger at the legislature in Albany to provide dedicated state aid to the transit agency.

The transit agency also approved the layoffs of station agents that a judge had blocked in June.

The 202 token booth agents will be fired in August.

A judge had told the MTA to hold a new round of public hearings before closing booths and firing the agents. The agency held those hearings this month.

Two board members expressed concern with the booth closing, citing intercom flaws on some subway platforms.

NYC Transit President Tom Pendergast said the agency is looking to fix those problems.

The MTA says it has saved $11 million in station agent layoffs this year in an effort to close an $800 million budget shortage.

It had earlier laid off 260 agents.

Public hearings will be taking place later on this summer. The MTA's full board can vote on the hikes in November.

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ONLINE:

Read the budget plan at http://www.mta.info/mta/budget/july2010.html


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