Home Asides At hearings, few comment on hike proposals

At hearings, few comment on hike proposals

by Benjamin Kabak

Over the last few weeks, I’ve written extensively about the MTA’s competing fare hike proposals and the need for a rigorous discussion on the alternatives during the fare hike hearings. Unfortunately, the hearings have offered anything but that. As Tom Namako notes in a brief piece in The Post, riders are turning the fare hike hearings into a circus. Instead of talking about the desire for a capped card or the love of unlimited options, speakers have chosen “instead to rail about recent service cuts, layoffs and other sore topics.” I’ll be at the Brooklyn hearing next week, but I can’t say I’m too surprised that most people have chosen to ignore the purpose of the fare hikes. As the city’s politicians take the time to bash the MTA on unrelated matters, so too do the people, and that’s just disappointing.

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Kevin Walsh September 17, 2010 - 3:11 pm

People don’t want to think it out. They see service cut after service cut, fare hike after fare hike whether it be commuter rail, bus or subway…can’t blame them for getting angry, really.

AlexB September 17, 2010 - 4:04 pm

In defense of the riders who are speaking at these hearings, the MTA is having hearings over a $99 option or a $104 option. Neither option will have a big impact on anyone. Cutting service and laying off people are much more noticeable. Maybe if these fare hike hearings were held in conjunction with service cuts and layoffs hearings, people would have given the MTA the option of increasing the fare to $110 or $115 and not reducing service. By now, what’s the point?

Benjamin Kabak September 17, 2010 - 4:06 pm

Two things in reply: It’s not just about $99 vs. $104. It’s also about capped vs. uncapped cards. And the MTA held hearings two months ago about cutting station agents and earlier this year about the service cuts. Wouldn’t those hearings been the appropriate time to voice concerns about those topics? Otherwise, the hearings are just a charade.

AlexB September 17, 2010 - 6:28 pm

Of course the hearings are a charade. What rational personal or entity decides what service they are going to provide and then how to pay for it? If the MTA were serious about getting public input, they would pair service levels with fare levels and ask which combination the public wants. The big parts of the service cuts were already decided upon long before the hearings started, the MTA just tweaked it to pretend like they were listening.

There was a poll taken on this very website where most of the respondents supported raising fares and maintaining service levels. The way the hearings were ordered, that was never even an option. When the bus route that goes by your house no longer exists, it doesn’t really matter what the cost of a metrocard is if you aren’t buying one anymore.

ajedrez September 17, 2010 - 7:23 pm

The thing is that people would be biased if their route was or wasn’t getting eliminated.

For example, the only routes within 3 miles of my home that were affected in any way were the S40/S90 extension to Howland Hook and the S54 on weekends. All of the routes that are near me (the buses along Richmond Avenue, South Avenue, Victory Blvd, and Forest Avenue) are all intact. If you asked me whether I preferred fare hikes or service cuts, I would definitely pick service cuts.

By comparison, somebody near the S42, or Q79, or any other route that was eliminted would pick fare hikes to save their bus.

rhywun September 19, 2010 - 1:43 am

This is exactly right… it is only human nature for people to be selfish and only consider their own needs. There’s nothing sinister about it – that’s just the way people are. Knowing this, one can only conclude that yes, these meetings are something of a charade – a pointless exercise to satisfy whatever legal hoops the MTA is required to jump through. “The people” have shown at every one of these exercises that they’re not there to offer reasoned arguments or thoughtful commentary – they’re there to complain and point fingers.


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