Workers and Riders Blast Service Cuts as MTA Hearings Begin

By Andrew Siff
|  Monday, Mar 1, 2010  |  Updated 8:38 PM EDT
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Workers and Riders Blast Service Cuts as MTA Hearings Begin

NBCNewYork

What's coming our way? Service cuts

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Layoffs. Less service. And higher fares.

That unappealing formula didn't exactly satisfy the crowd at Chateau Briand, a banquet hall in Nassau County where the MTA held the first of several public hearings on service cuts.

The famously cash-strapped agency is facing a $750 million deficit, and has already announced it's cutting bus service and eliminating free Metrocards for students to save money.

Monday night, the MTA outlined plans to slash LIRR routes, including the historic Ronkonkoma-to-Greenport run.

Predictably, union leaders were furious.

"Don't do it on the backs of the men and women who operate your trains," said Michael Quinn of the LIRR's engineers' union.

He was cheered by thunderous applause from rank and file members, who could lose their jobs if the MTA budget becomes final.

The MTA's chairman says the cuts are painful, but affect the fewest number of commuters. Reductions would take effect this summer.

One rider, Debbie Koons, predicts overcrowding.

"The hot weather is coming, it's going to be skin-on-skin on the buses and trains," she said. "That's disgusting."

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