Higher MTA fares hurt the poor

April 02, 2011

Now is not the time to increase transit fares ("Assembly pushes for higher MTA fares," March 31.) Citizens who ride public transit are the last to recover in this crippling economy. To get a job requires transportation, and to get to a job requires a round-trip ticket every day.

Legislators should listen to Transportation Secretary Beverly K. Swaim-Staley, who said "the people who most need the service are the least able to afford it. We have a very transit-dependent population. We really need to be considerate of the fact that that is their only alternative."

When public transportation is one's only alternative, it is merciless to raise the rates.

It is unconscionable that legislators would increase bus fares (which were increased as recently as 2003) while shelving gasoline tax increases — which have not seen a rise since 1992.

Increasing the hurdles for low-income job-seekers is not the way to balance the state budget.

Barbara T. Cutko and Frank R. Cutko

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