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Notes on the MTA Hearing
cap, captain miss america

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.

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I love how your "notes" are drawings with words. That is not what I expected..but I should have!

It is really sad what you wrote. I hope these people get a better deal:( and the rates don't increase..

I'm curious:

and institute a service cap of 90 rides

What exactly does that mean?

I believe it means that if you purchase a monthly pass, you will be limited to 90 rides a month instead of getting unlimited rides.

Oh that's bitchy! And I didn't think of monthly passes, lol. I was wondering how if you bought a ticket each day they could police it! That's really stupid though. Beyond stupid!

In Melbourne, there are weekly tickets (unlimited rides for seven days), five-by-daily tickets (one ticket that can be used five times for a day fare, days don't have to be consecutive) and ten-by-two-hourly tickets (one ticket that can be used ten times for a two hour fare, same deal as five-bys) and those three are all the same price. Kind of makes sense for them to bring in a 90-ride ticket as well as the unlimited monthly one or something... but then that might be too nice!

Yeah, if the ninety-ride were a cheaper alternative to the monthly where both were offered, I would be like, hey, sure! But that isn't the case!

What is a day fare or a two-hour fare? We don't have fares by time here like that, I don't think.

A daily ticket is one that's good from whenever you first validate it until the last service that night, unlimited rides on buses, trains and trams. So if you take the tram to and from work, you'd need a daily ticket.

The two hour one is only valid for two hours, so if you just got the tram to OR from work and that was it, then that's all you'd get. It's also valid for unlimited rides during that time on anything... and it's also awesome because it isn't a strict two hours, it rounds up to the next hour and then adds two. So a ticket validated at 11:59 will round up to 12 and be valid until 2, but a ticket validated on the dot of 12 will round up to one and be valid until 3. ;) And if you validate after 6pm then they're also valid until the last service. They also used to have a short trip ticket, which was only valid for one single journey of three train stations, or ten tram stops, so I'd get that to and from school. Then they abolished it which was STUPID because suddenly when I finished work late, I'd have to get a two-hour ticket for a five minute journey. (I walked home other days but didn't really want a 45-minute walk when it was late and dark.) However, in this case I did the Australian thing of just not getting a ticket, lol. You'd be daft to try that on a train, but it's fair to say that half the people on a tram at any given time won't have a ticket.


Well, we do have the 1-day unlimited, which is $8.25, so I guess that's similar?
The other thing that makes me think of is the LightRail over in New Jersey- I'm used to the Hudson-Bergen one, but there's one in Newark that's run the same way- which runs off of the honor system and once your ticket is stamped it's good for 90 minutes. (One ticket is $2.10.)

I think it's ridiculous that they aren't penalizing drivers. Make the East River bridges toll roads, tax taxi rides, whatever. There's absolutely no reason why anyone who isn't making deliveries needs to drive in Manhattan.

I actually haven't ridden the subway in almost a week since I've started bike commuting/sticking around my borough on the weekends. Part of this decision was due to the proposed fare increases--it's absolutely insane that the people that need public transportation the most are screwed so easily.

I would bike commute in a second if I worked somewhere that wasn't in a very nonsafe-for-bikers area of Manhattan and where I could go to work in clothing that's possible to bike in.

...And if they DID start penalizing drivers, the first might change.

I agree. I think emergency vehicles, delivery vehicles, and other people whose careers require cars should be allowed to get a permit, and anyone else who wants to bring a car into Manhattan should have to pay a daily fee for the privilege.

they might also get away with fewer road repairs if the car/truck traffic decreased in Manhattan. On my bike ride home yesterday I went down a street that just a few days ago had a perfectly passable bike lane (as far as is possible in Soho) and yesterday it was completely covered in those giant metal sheets you see on roads--me and several other bikers had to weave in and out so that we didn't pop our tires.

there's too much bike/pedestrian traffic in this city for it to still be so car oriented. I really think something needs to change.

those are cool notes!

i feel you...though in philly, we already pay 2 bucks per fare as is, and transfers are now a dollar - despite its flaws, MTA is far superior to SEPTA down here in many many many ways...but transit for disabled people has always gotten the shitty end of a shitty stick everywhere.

one of the big fights down here is doing away with the Gender Stickers they place on passes..whenever you buy a Septa pass you have to ask for Male or Female...there are many in the GLBT community that are raging hot over it..and i always thought it was a stupid thing to do...why not just put a PAID sticker on it and be done with it, the excuse SEPTA's always used is just lame (preventing fraud sales), if i wanted to let another female use my pass i could, or a male can sell me a female pass they found...but i digress...

i really hope that MTA realizes how bad they are screwing people and stop fucking with their lives

THANK YOU for mentioning the people whose jobs involve home visits - that is very much something that often goes forgotten. It's not just the ACS and related nonprofit folks, who (as I know all too well) are sure as fuck not getting rich in that line of work, it's also home health aides, PCAs, etc. who generally get paid even less.


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.

That is breaking my heart and making me sad just thinking about it.

DC's transit system is pretty good (sure I complain -- especially because it closes pretty early!) but I guess I should be glad that we even have a good transit system...but seriously, that is breaking my heart. And the quotes -- wow.

We've had a lot of cases of Sexual Assault on our "Metro Access" which is a service for the elderly and disabled -- it is so sad. There are so many groups out there who are under-represented in these matters and honestly, those are the people who need these services, at an affordable price, the most.

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