The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has recently proposed to close 177 token booths throughout the New York City Transit System in order to help close a projected MTA budget gap. The MTA plans to keep these entrances open 24 hours a day without staff, by using high entrance and exit turnstiles and Metro-Card vending machines. This would leave these entrances without any regular employee presence.
Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, the Assembly’s appointee to the MTA Capital Program Review Board, recently wrote to Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Peter Kalikow regarding the MTA’s token booth closing proposal.
In her letter to Mr. Kalikow, Assemblywoman Nolan complained that, “We were told that station agents would be provided at these locations, but no details or even an outline of how staff would be deployed has been provided.
“Closing over one hundred token booths threatens the security of the riding public as well as the financial stability of the transit system. The personal security of riders should be a top priority of the transit system; otherwise people would be discouraged from riding.”
Nolan also noted that the disabled and people with strollers would have greater difficulty accessing the system as they would often be forced to use other entrances requiring them to travel extra distances. Nolan specifically mentioned the 47th Street entrance of the 46th Street-Bliss station which is not staffed in the afternoon and evenings, citing long lines and other difficulties.
“With such uncertainty remaining about these plans and considering the security risks involved, I ask that this plan be removed from consideration,” Nolan concluded in her letter.
“Please come to the public hearing scheduled in order to oppose these closings,” urged Nolan. The Queens public hearing is scheduled for February 19 at 6pm at the Queens Central Jury Room, 120-55 Queens Blvd. The complete list of hearings and the token booths scheduled for closing can be found on the MTA’s website.