• NYC Hikes Subway Fares To Pay For Employee Raises

    New York City hiked subway and bus fares Monday, but rather than spending the money to ease congestion or reduce delays, the city will instead use the revenue to cover employee raises.

    The New York Post reports that, “for the fifth time in eight years, the [Metropolitan Transportation Authority] has hiked subway and bus fares,” but will not use the revenues to improve service, despite the fact that “the subways are worse than ever.”

    “Over the past month especially, not a day goes by without serious delays, cancellations, and overcrowded subway cars and platforms,” the Post claims, pointing out that on two occasions just last week, the L train “stopped running during the morning rush,” with major implications for commuters.

    One rider related to the Post the impact the delays had on his ability to reach a job interview on time. Despite leaving an hourly early to account for expected delays, he claims that a 45-minute stoppage in a tunnel caused him to miss his bus and arrive at the interview an hour late. (RELATED: New York Man Misses Job Interview To Save Baby From Train)

    According to The New York Times, advocacy group the Riders Alliance “collected nearly 400 subway ‘horror’ stories last week,” including tales of passengers trapped for hours on trains that had lost power, and others who complained of trains failing to arrive and unintelligible announcements.

    John Raskin, the director of the Riders Alliance, told NYT that, “It’s not just a matter of inconvenience. It’s personal and it’s visceral.” (RELATED: NY Transportation Unions Prepare to Strike After Negotiations Derail)

    Currently, the MTA says that its on-time performance rate is 74 percent, though they are hoping to raise that figure to 92 percent. Similarly, the average train runs for about 141,000 miles between breakdowns, significantly short of the MTA’s goal of 175,000 miles.

    Last December alone, the Post claims, there were 15,000 delays due to overcrowding– more than double the number recorded the previous year. (RELATED: Fears $21.3 Million Will be Wasted on New York Subway Cameras that Don’t Even Record)

    MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg told the Post that the delays are a sign of growing demand for mass transit, saying, “Subway ridership keeps rising, and late last year started hitting 6 million on our busiest days.”

    Yet rather than using the proceeds from the recent fare hike to upgrade equipment, improve processes, or repair track damage left by Hurricane Sandy, the MTA will instead spend the money exclusively on pay raises for employees, even as the agency lobbies the state government for roughly $30 billion for repairs, enhancements and construction.

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