Friday, August 3, 2012
MTA surcharge hits Queens hardest
From the Daily News:
The new “green” MetroCard surcharge is making one northeast Queens lawmaker red in the face.
Assemblyman Edward Braunstein blasted the MTA on Tuesday, saying the $1 surcharge to encourage riders to re-use the cards is unfair to bus riders in his district.
Many riders buy their MetroCards at Long Island Rail Road station vending machines where cards can’t be refilled, he said, forcing them to buy a new card.
“Their whole justification is the environment and I get that,” said Braunstein (D-Bayside). “But if you can’t refill the card, it’s just unfair.”
The surcharge has been on the table in Metropolitan Transportation Authority budget discussions since 2010. When the charge was announced in July 2011 as likely to go into effect in 2013, Braunstein wrote a letter to New York City Transit President Thomas Prendergast explaining that it placed an unfair burden on an area where there are no subway stations.
Prendergast wrote back that riders had the option of avoiding the surcharge if they bought the cards at off-site vendors or if they bought a combination commuter-railroad card.