The MTA Digs Deeper Into NY’s Pockets - Raise the Fares, Damn the Handicapped!
Twas the night before Christmas and you expected what? Next year’s gift from the MTA - digging deeper into our aching pants pockets .
As a small business leader, we always fought the hideous New York sales tax. Almost every empty lot became a flea market. But the only ‘fleeing” was the City and State sales tax.
A flea market was a disguise to take away business from legal stores who were compelled to collect the taxes from shoppers.
One Sunday in autumn we went to Shea Stadium, a City facility, and learned that our City had leased it to a political group, who was operating a sales tax free flea market.
Our business president, the late Howard Strauss, operated four fashionable ladies shops, each dutifully collecting sales tax. That morning, we were also accompanied by a camera crew from Channel 7, WABC. We asked vendor after vendor, “How much is that with sales tax?” And the answer would be, “We got no sales tax here in this flea market.”
On camera, Strauss blurted, “This is where our city and state monies are - lost on city owned property. NY stores are the losers and our city and state as well.”
One of Mayor Koch’s deputy mayors had no alternative then, but to cancel the lease closing the flea market forever. More recently as sales taxes have been eliminated on clothing and other items, more flea markets have closed.
But now, we all have to dig deeper to ride the subways, the buses and whatever else the MTA can figure. Raise the fairs, toll the bridges, sock the elderly, what can these limo-driven political appointees think of next?
Memory carries us to the auditorium of Abraham Lincoln HS, where democratic leader Marcey Feigenbaum hosted a speak-out forum about the then new MTA, featuring chairman John A. Gilhooley. Fares had risen to .25 cents almost immediately and the public was upset.
Audience speakers had only three minutes but we ran overtime, saying, “Mr. Gilhooley, as soon as you took over from the TA, you spent a fortune painting every single car with your new logo printed on each one. That way, passengers would know it was not the Atcheson Topeka and Santa Fe...”
“Then you introduced subway hieroglyphics like the Sea Beach logo, instead of SB you called it the N because there is no N in Sea Beach, and the Brighton Beach Express became the Q not WE for West End.”
“Likewise” we continued, “ In the bus-route numbers, instead of the #5 bus for 5th Avenue, or the #86 bus for the 86th Street line, you gave them other incoherences.”
So what did the MTA commissioners do when they met to discuss the money loses? They closed booths, they stopped renting vital stands in the many busy stations, they never even put “for rent” signs on the empty stores adjoining the terminals.
That was some forty years back when we pointed out that they could have built convenient parking lot spaces above subway lines, to help boost ridership, but the
MTA started to build massive train terminals on Atlantic Avenue instead. But in this modern era, they left out major vital items like escalators - like they have in every terminal in the more impoverished Washington DC transit system. Here in NY the MTA looks around toward our bridges and wants to impose a toll on the East River crossings, making it a hardship for citizens to go to work. The City is also where city planners plotted to pile all the theaters, vital courts, major hospitals and bureaucratic offices, compelling travel there. The MTA has led us to one steady increase after another. Oust this crew and beware the tolls.