MTA Considers Cuts; Parents, Disabled Advocates, Others Complain

ftrainblur.jpgThere's no B or D service into Manhattan because of a sick passenger, and the MTA board is preparing to vote on service cuts to pull the Authority out of the red ($400 million) -- into which it sank, just months after the last Doomsday "rescue" plan, thanks to spectacular financial mismanagement -- and into the slightly less red.

One of the least popular items on the agenda is the termination of free student passes. Parents, as you may expect, are flipping out.

Governor Paterson says Albany will step in to fund school passes if the state gets more money next year -- but, as he recently declared New York broke, that's a dim hope at best.

"At $88/month the cost of metro cards is not cheap but from past analysis my wife and I still get a pretty good deal," says Roosevelt Island 360. "With the added possibility of having to buy two more such cards for our kids, if the MTA does away with student metro cards, I am not so sure... spending $350 plus on metro cards is nuts."

That's not the only casus belli. Assemblymember Micah Kellner and state senator Tom Duane led a protest/press conference today in front of Selis Manor -- home of service centers for the disabled and elderly -- to oppose cuts to the budget for Access-A-Ride, MTA's special "paratransit" service for the physically needful. Kellner and Duane had introduced legislation to require taxis and livery cars to accommodate wheelchair passengers, which they claimed would relieve Access-a-Ride's financial burden by $50 million. "Instead of proposing outrageous cuts," says Kellner, "how about using this crisis as an opportunity to spur innovation?"

But that bill sits in the Albany cities committee, and as it stands, MTA plans to cut $71 million from that service. They may also cut some train lines and bus routes. Photo (cc) Mshades.


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Wheelchairs

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