Last night, I went to the MTA’s public hearing on the new fare increases that they wish to levy specifically on regular commuters and the disabled.
If you’re not from New York, it bears explaining that New York has an awesome transit system. It’s open 24 hours a day. But in the past couple years, there have been a lot of service cuts, resulting in lost jobs, less accessibility for the disabled, and overcrowded subways. The fare also increased from a flat $2 to $2.25 per ride.
Recently, the state cut promised MTA funding, which is pretty screwy. But the MTA’s response, rather than applying for federal stimulus funds, like several other cities have done recently, is that they’ve decided to increase the monthly fare for commuters by eleven percent, and institute a service cap of 90 rides. That means that anyone who works two jobs, goes to school, or has to use transit as part of their working day (like social services folks who pay house visits) would be plum out of luck. They proposed an “alternative” by which the increase would be seventeen percent and the fares would stay unlimited. Neither is tenable, and it punishes the people who use the subway most and who are most dependent on the subway– city-dwelling commuters who can’t afford to keep cars, or choose not to keep cars.
In addition to this, the city wants to raise the fare for our service bus system, “Access-A-Ride,” a special system for elderly and disabled people that will pick them up at home and drop them off where they need to go. It’s intended to make sure that everyone can get to their doctors, and to prevent people from being forced to become shut-ins. The problem is that the people affected by this are people who more often than not are on a fixed income and have to figure their bus fare into their income very carefully already.
Being at the hearing was incredibly depressing. The room was only about a third full, and many of the people who spoke said that they had been coming to hearings like this for six years, and every time they come, the crowd gets smaller and smaller as it becomes more and more apparent that the MTA board does not give a shit about anything anyone has to say. On top of that, the number of older people and disabled people who came out to speak about how they are afraid that raising the Access-A-Ride fares will cut them off from living a normal life, or even from seeing their doctors, was downright heartbreaking.
I scribbled down some of the most interesting moments of the meeting, of people getting up to speak to the board.
Mirrored from Antagonia.net.