MTA Leaves Lost Subway Riders Hanging

Confused straphangers get little direction from MTA employees

By Maya Pope-Chappell
|  Thursday, Oct 8, 2009  |  Updated 4:30 PM EDT
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MTA Leaves Lost Subway Riders Hanging

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Vendors and the occasional MTA employee are having to direct straphangers in the wake of job cuts.

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These days disoriented straphangers aren't even getting a bum steer -- they're apparently just left hanging.

After 300 station agents were slashed from the payroll last month, far fewer MTA employees are left to help navigate confused subway riders around the complex labyrinth that is the New York City subway system, according to the New York Times.

That leaves vendors and the occasional MTA employee to help direct straphangers.

"It's all day long," snack vendor Afzal Hossain, who works in the Times Square subway station, told Times. "When I get a chance, I tell them go this way, go that way.  But sometimes, I'm serving a customer so I don't say anything."

The cuts, which began earlier this year, have saved the MTA $5.7 million. But the lack of station agents has also raised concerns about the safety, the Times reported.

Transit officials told the Times there are still agents in the 24-hour booth in most stations. They also pointed to security cameras that monitor platforms and entrances.

To ease its mounting debt, the MTA increased fare and cut service earlier this year. The MTA also plans to cut 360 maintenance, cleaning, painting and managerial jobs in 2010 as part of an effort to conserve costs.

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