PCAC Testimony – February 26, 2020 – Outer Borough Transit Fund Discounts and Congestion Pricing

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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 Outer Borough Rail Discount Pilot, which was discussed at length at Monday’s committee meetings. Under the program, riders from 15 Metro-North and 24 LIRR stations in the city will be eligible for discounted fares as soon as May 1st.  We look forward to the detailed analysis of financial, ridership, operational and train capacity impacts, along with ticket sales and train count data that will come out of the pilot.

We appreciate that local elected leaders fought for these benefits for their constituents. As it is being funded by phase 1 of congestion pricing, getting people out of their cars and onto transit should be a primary goal. But on Monday we learned that the LIRR and Metro-North estimated the pilot could cost almost $21 million – potentially without adding new riders, but conceivably including people who drive over the borders. Indeed, one of our concerns is the crossover commuter and how that will affect traffic and parking in nearby neighborhoods. We are also concerned about riders who pay hundreds of dollars a month to travel into the city potentially having to stand on their way home.

When NYC Transit Riders Council proposed the Atlantic Ticket, it undertook a detailed capacity analysis to ensure there would not be any undue burden on riders coming from Nassau and Suffolk counties, while benefiting Southeast Queens and Brooklyn riders with lower fares and shorter commutes: a win-win. We look forward to working collaboratively with the Board, railroads, elected officials and other stakeholders to develop an equitable program that benefits all users of our amazing transportation system based on the data that’s gathered from this pilot.

Thank you.

Full testimony: 2.26.2020 OBTF and CP Testimony

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