NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is backtracking after initially announcing it did not plan to resume cash transactions at the booth in subway stations.
As CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported Thursday, the agency did so after the policy started receiving growing criticism.
Subway riders at the Hunts Point Avenue station who need to add cash onto their MetroCards can’t miss the sign saying “No Cash In Booth.”
“I like using cash sometimes, but my kids don’t like using cash,” one straphanger said.
MTA officials said during Wednesday’s press conference pandemic policy bars station agents from conducting transactions.
“We currently do not plan to resume cash transactions in the booths,” said Patrick Warren, the agency’s chief safety and security officer.
Now, the transit agency is backtracking, saying in a statement that “No decision has been made.”
This after mounting outrage.
“We believe on our end the purpose of taking the money out of the booths here at the NYCT is to do nothing more than fast track the OMNY that they want to put in place,” said Robert Kelley, Transport Workers Union vice president of stations.
The OMNY fare system requires a debit or credit card or a mobile device not everyone has access to.
As for the MetroCard machines, riders at the Hunts Point Avenue station there is always a problem.
“We need them. Either exact change or out of service. If not, we’re not going to be able to get on,” rider Carmela Perez said.
“Let’s say no debit card, no credit card. Now, what am I supposed to do? I sit here and wait for someone to swipe me in?” rider Charles Duke added.
Some station agents will let people through the gate, but not all.
“Ending cash payment is going to force people to skip the fare, and when that happens some of them will be arrested. They’ll be fined,” the RA’s Danny Pearlstein said.
An impact that could have widespread consequences.
These are all matters the MTA has to consider before making a sweeping decision.
Critics of the policy say it unfairly targets low-income residents.