Judge rules to reopen token booths
A Manhattan judge ruled Tuesday that the MTA cannot boot station agents from 42 subway booths without holding another round of public hearings.In a statement, the agency said it will appeal the decision, which automatically will prevent the immediate reopening of the customer service booths. The cash-strapped agency is seeking to layoff 478 token clerks, but only managed to let go of 266 last month before the issue got caught up in a legal dispute. Last week, Judge Saliann Scarpulla ordered the MTA to schedule new public hearings before laying off the workers. The agency, however, believed it could dismiss agents in non-revenue generating positions without further hearings. In a clarification yesterday, Scarpulla said the agency must keep the booths open until the hearings are held, which the MTA hopes to do in the next month or so. “These closures were necessitated by the MTA’s dire financial situation, and the need for the savings they generate remains,” the agency said yesterday in a statement. The cash-strapped MTA said the move could save $21 million a year.
John Samuelsen, president of the Transport Workers Union Local 100, which took the issue to court, said: “Our subway system is a far safer place for transit riders with our station agents manning the booths … and assisting passengers.” The MTA board is slated to hold an emergency meeting today to schedule the public hearings.