PCAC Testimony – February 24, 2020 – Outer Borough Transit Fund Discounts

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Statement by Lisa Daglian, Executive Director
Outer Borough Transit Fund Discounts
MTA Headquarters, 2 Broadway, New York, NY 10004
February 24, 2020

Good morning, my name is Lisa Daglian and I am the Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, PCAC.

Today you’ll be voting on an NYC Outer Borough Rail Discount Pilot that could start as soon as May 1 and run six-to-twelve months. Riders traveling from, to, and between stations in New York City on Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road will receive varying discounted fares, paid for from phase one of congestion pricing funds. We appreciate that local elected leaders obtained these benefits for their constituents and hope more people will get out of their cars and onto transit. We also hope that any increases in ridership will result in increases in service, especially as East Side Access, Penn Access and the Empire Complex come online.

This pilot program will include an analysis of financial, ridership, operational and train capacity impacts, along with ticket sales and train count data. In a perfect world, this would be done BEFORE implementation to provide a window into anticipated effects on riders – especially those who pay hundreds of dollars a month to travel into the city. That’s precisely why NYC Transit Riders Council undertook a capacity analysis in advance of its Atlantic Ticket proposal, which now offers a discount on travel to and from Atlantic Terminal and subway deserts in Southeast Queens, including Brooklyn stations in between.

The Outer Borough pilot program, while very well-meaning, applies to every station – even those adjacent to subways. It does not take into account those trains which may have little or no capacity, nor does it apply evenly to the LIRR and Metro-North, offering a 20% discount on a monthly ticket on the LIRR, but no such deal on Metro-North.

We support an equitable fare structure, and argue that it must not come at the expense of one rider over another. Since everybody wants the best and fairest deal for all users of our amazing transportation system, let’s take the data that’s gathered from this pilot and work together toward that goal. Thank you.

Download here: OBTF Testimony 2.24.2020

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