Testimony of Anthony (Tony) Herbert, Candidate for NYC Public Advocate, MTA Fare Hike Hearing 2019
Tuesday, December 11, 2018 5-8pm
Good evening and thank you for giving me the opportunity to testify about your plans to force poor New Yorkers to spend more money for less services.
My name is Tony Herbert and I am the founder of Advocates without Borders Network and a candidate for New York City Public Advocate.
I want to begin by stating that neither of the options you are proposing are acceptable because both will force riders to pay more for less. Basic business protocol and logic tells us to change or eliminate elements of a business plan that aren’t working, but when something isn’t working at the MTA, your protocol is to ask riders to pay more.
That practice is mind boggling – especially when you consider that the reason that you want to raise fares is because ridership is down. Ridership is down, because MTA subway and bus service stinks. Because the service stinks, New Yorkers are turning to ride sharing programs such as Uber and Lyft to get them from point A to point B. These private companies have been able to do something that the MTA – with all of its staff and with a multibillion dollar budget cannot – provide convenient, dependable service at prices that are affordable.
Now that more and more people have traded in their Metro Card for ride sharing app, the MTA is cutting back service and asking riders to pay more.
Let me make it plain – this fare hike will impact our poorest New Yorkers because they do not earn enough to qualify for a credit or debit card so they can’t utilize a rideshare app.
Let me make my point with numbers. Your lowest fare structure will cost New Yorkers $1,500 per year – that’s if the person can afford to purchase a monthly Metro Card at $125 per month. Now consider this – at minimum wage a New Yorker will take home approximately $25,000 per year. With an average rent of $1500 per month or $18,000 per year – the minimum wage earner is left with about $580 per month. Take out the $125 you want for a monthly Metro Card and that leaves the minimum wage earner just over $450 a month to pay for food, utilities, clothing and everything else involved with living life in New York City. Could you live on that?
Minimum wage earners are trapped into paying whatever price the MTA decides to charge. So let’s call this hearing what it is – the MTA picking the pockets of New York’s poorest residents.
With all due respect, I am opposed and you should be too.