MTA Fare Hikes Will Come Amid Worse Subway Service, Many Straphangers Say

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Metropolitan Transportation Authority fare hikes will go into effect in a matter of weeks — but as commuters pay more, many said they are getting much less service.

As CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported, commuters are complaining in particular about trains not being on time.

Jameelah El-Shabazz said she is used to waiting, and waiting, for the subway.

“Today I had to be at work at 2, so I had to leave my house at 12:30 so I can be on time,” she said, “and still had delays.”

Jeffrey Zicker runs into similar problems.

“With the trains I use, most of the time they’re close to on time, but on the weekends it’s like the MTA acts like no one has anywhere to get,” he said.

They are not alone. And at a City Council hearing on public transportation on Monday, Public Advocate Letitia James cited 75,000 trains delayed in 2016.

The figure was up from 65,000 from the year before.

“Massive delays basically turn a morning commute into a nightmare,” James said.

They are calling on the MTA to do a better job, especially since the latest fare hike takes effect next month.

“The prices are going up and train conditions are kind of terrible,” said subway rider Ieisha Jackson. “They’re not on time half the time.”

An MTA representative said the agency is working on improvements with the largest capital plan in MTA history. It includes billions of dollars for new subway cars, and replacing the entire signal system – along with 72 miles of tracks and switches.

The MTA said signal failures cause the most delays. Planned work is another cause, which rider Adam Rottman recognizes.

“It’s 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so it it’s understandable they would have to do construction and stuff like that,” he said.

Also Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office took back a report claiming the governor is cutting funding to the MTA budget. His office said the state is actually investing more money in the MTA this year compared to last year.

Advocacy groups and some city lawmakers called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to fund half-price MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers. The Mayor’s office called the proposal “noble,” but said it would create a substantial financial burden for New York City.

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