Hey MTA, Where’s The Money Going?

Transit agency set to vote on fare hikes (again)

It’s the 4th fare hike since 2005 and it’s expected to pass without a problem. Thursday morning, the MTA will vote to make straphangers, once again, reach into their pockets.

But many are wondering if the Transit Authority could’ve found more areas in which to save.

On Tuesday the MTA said their newest upgrade could be a “game changing event": Computerized screens showing any and every subway service change or delay system-wide -- and options on how to get around them -- are now on display at three stations across the city.

As rider Stephanie Melowski put it, “no one's going to look at [the screens] because everyone is in a rush to get on the train. So no one is going to have time to stand here and figure out what that board is saying.”

In fact, during rush hour on Wednesday night, commuter after commuter blew right past the screen. Barely a soul even noticed it was there.

To be fair, the screen at Grand Central and the two others in Brooklyn and the Rockaways are brand new, so not many are aware they exist. Still, with an imminent vote to ask more of riders for the same reduced service, people who stopped to talk thought the upgrade wasn’t worth the money.

Belkys Faustia of Flatbush, Brooklyn, said the new technology is “not worth it. I prefer my fare than new systems.”

On Thursday morning the MTA board is expected to approve an increase of $0.25 for a single ride bringing it to $2.50, as well as tack on $15 dollars more for monthly unlimited rides, form $89 to $104. This, an attempt, yet again, to close that $800 million budget gap.

But Razi Karin of Murray Hill wonders if the MTA should be spending any money, even a small amount, on things like new computerized delay boards, saying “if that’s the deficit [the MTA is] working on, they should probably deal with that first, rather than try and lay off the cost to [riders].”

NBCNewYork asked the Transit Authority if it was prudent to spend money on arguably unnecessary upgrades at the same time they continue to hike fares. In a statement, the MTA responded, "Uncertain finances and the continuing economic downturn cannot be used as excuses to stop moving forward with the implementation of new technology and the performance of vital construction projects."

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