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‘They’re sucking us all dry’: Straphangers in Brooklyn blast MTA doomsday plan

Strap hangers at the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

As the MTA considers raising transit fares by a $1 a ride to close its massive budget gap related to the COVID-19 pandemic, straphangers were either incensed by the premise — or resigned to the fate of having to pay more to commute.

Nothing’s final yet — the MTA mentioned a possible fare hike among other remedies for closing its $12 billion budget deficit during an Aug. 26 meeting. MTA officials indicated that the current $2.75 fare could jump by as much as a full dollar, accompanied by a 40% reduction in overall transit service. That could be avoided if the federal government steps in with billions of dollars in aid.

Transit advocate groups have panned the fare hike concept as counter-productive to increasing ridership on the subways and buses. However, revenues from fares dropped considerably during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has kept most riders away.

Most riders we spoke to Wednesday at Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn rejected the idea of a possible fare hike, but understood the MTA had a financial problem maintaining the transit system.

“We don’t like it. It’s too much money, everybody gets on train, everyone has to pay – I have my family,” said Tanisha Alnon of Brooklyn with her two children, daughter Maya and son Natay.

Strap hangers at the Atlantic Terminal including Tanisha Alnon of Brooklyn with her two children, daughter Maya and son Natay, didn’t like a fare hike. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

“It’s like everything else, it’s greed, they’re sucking us all dry,” said Kits Karth of Brooklyn, getting ready to get on the #2 train. “During the pandemic, there was a problem, yes, they didn’t get the money and they were giving a free ride – whatever. Then they sit down and say they’re going to raise it a dollar – it will be every year for the next 88,000 years. They will keep raising it and raising it, where are we supposed to get the money?”

Strap hangers including Kits Karth of Brooklyn at the Atlantic Terminal hated the idea of a fare hike. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

“It’s not bad, better service may be,” said Marisa Lozano of the Bronx.  “It may be worth the extra dollar then. But then, I don’t ride the trains that much. May be the extra dollar will do something.”

Strap hangers such as Marisa Lozano of the Bronx, at the Atlantic Terminal was resigned to a possible fare hike. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

“Oh no, that’s too much money,” said Dawn Martin with her daughter Darnett.

“It’s not constitutional under our democracy – right now we are still in a pandemic. Why would you increase the cost for people to maneuver around in a city that’s damaged financially, mentally physically?” Martin said.  “We are damaged not just from the pandemic, but by a president that is just an atrocity right now. So we have to get out and vote. We don’t really need an increase at this particular time – it’s appalling and against our equal opportunity to have growth.”

“A lot of people don’t have the money for that, so $2.75 is pretty good. It will hurt a lot of people if the fare goes up that high,” said the younger Martin.

Dawn Martin  with her daughter Darnett at the Atlantic Terminal hated the idea of a fare hike. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

“I don’t take the subway, just the LIRR,” said Chuck B. from Long Island.  “Any increase will stink. May be some will be able to handle it, but not all. It will be bad for the city.”

Chuck B. from Long Island at the Atlantic Terminal thought a fare hike would be bad for the city. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

“I think its bull because they ran the trains with nobody on them, you could watch the trains go by and nobody in them,” said Justin Anders of Mineola who works in Manhattan in communications. “At the end of the month, the dollar adds up – I take the MTA and LIRR, and it’s already $400 a month. It’s a lot of money.”

Justin Anders of Mineola who works in Manhattan was at the Atlantic Terminal and said fares were high enough. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

“I take the trains, so I guess we will do what we have to do,” said Amber Smalls with her younger brother Noah. “It’s hard, but we really haven’t been going many places anyway. But yeah, it’s gonna hurt the system.”

Amber Smalls with her younger brother Noah at the Atlantic Terminal were resigned to fare hike, but thought it would hurt the city. (Photo by Todd Maisel)
Esther Reisner, a resident of Brooklyn, sitting at the Atlantic Terminal thought fare hike bad idea, a “pandemic wasn’t our fault.” (Photo by Todd Maisel)

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