By Bendix Anderson
TUESDAY, JUNE 8 — About 500 people who staff token booths and kiosks in New York’s transit system got a reprieve today as State Supreme Court Judge Saliann Scarpulla ordered the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to keep booths and kiosks open pending public hearings.
For the last five months, the MTA has planned layoffs for these workers to close a more than $800 million hole in the MTA’s budget for this year. Transit officials already are threatening to appeal the ruling. They also called an emergency MTA board meeting for Wednesday to approve another round of public hearings.
“They are not giving up on the cuts; they are just trying to make them legal,” according to a statement on the website of Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union.
The statement calls Judge Scarpulla’s decision “a victory for safety and security in our subways.” Local 100 will continue to advocate for federal help for the MTA, including passage of the Public Transportation Preservation Act of 2010, also known as S.3412. The bill, introduced by Senators Dodd (D-Conn.), Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), would provide $2 billion in new mass transit operating assistance to cash-starved transit agencies to keep the booths open permanently and ward off all future job and service cuts.