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Queens Chronicle

MTA, TWU differ on fund totals, priorities

Union calls for more subway booths

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Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:03 am, Thu Jun 20, 2013.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the union representing its subway workers are about $15 million apart on just how much extra funding will be available from the state this coming fiscal year.

But that is virtual agreement compared to their stands on reopening 100 of the subway booths that were shut down when the MTA was suffering a cash crunch in 2010.

Transit Workers Union Local 100 held a rally at the Steinway Street station in Astoria on June 6, seeking restoration of the booths as a matter of customer service and safety. The booths are staffed by TWU personnel.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) attended the rally in support of the union. Van Bramer sits on the Council’s Transportation Committee.

A spokesman for his office said the MTA is slated to receive $40 million more in state funding than it had budgeted — an amount, he said, that would be far more than enough for the booths and personnel to man them.

An MTA spokesman said the increase right now stands at about $25 million, with the possibility of more to come.

And, while the MTA has recently restarted or reworked several of the bus routes it eliminated in 2010 as a result of the fiscal crisis, the token booths are a nonstarter.

“We have at least one manned booth at each one of our stations and have absolutely no plans to add booths at this time,” the spokesman said in an email. He said the MTA is continuing to work with the NYPD to reduce subway crime, which he reported is down 20 percent in the last year.

The MTA, he added, is installing help point intercoms at 100 stations in the next 18 months which will allow riders to request directions and report emergencies.

Gene Russianoff, spokesman for the Straphangers Campaign, said they are “in lockstep” with the TWU on this one.

“We broadly support using any surplus for services ... including booth clerks,” Russianoff said. “They offer service to riders, and offer safety and security. They can contact officials. They perform a lot of useful functions.”

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