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MTA Holds Final Public Hearing In Manhattan

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TWC News: MTA Holds Final Public Hearing In Manhattan
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Dozens of concerned straphangers headed down to Chelsea Thursday night as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority held its fifth and final public hearing in the city over proposed service cuts.

More than 150 people signed up to speak inside the auditorium at Manhattan's Fashion Institute of Technology.

Many who attended were upset with the agency's plan to get rid of free student MetroCards as well as layoff more than 1,000 workers, including station agents.

The MTA is also considering eliminating bus routes and reducing service on some subway lines as it looks to close a nearly $800 million budget gap.

"When I came here, I was angry, but now that I'm here I'm outraged," said one Manhattan resident. "The first thing that I see when I come in here is people sleeping, people texting, people calling, people speaking to each other, people reading the newspaper. How dare you sit up there and do all of those things while these people here took the time to come and listen to you?"

"When Jay Walder goes to Albany and asks for money for countdown clocks and then comes downstate and says that he doesn't have money for station booths, to have station agents employed, stationed, to watch, to make sure that no one gets robbed, that no one gets raped, nobody gets hurts, that there's no terrorist attack, that he's being disingenuous, that he's lying to us," said another Manhattan resident.

MTA Chairman Jay Walder says he understands the emotions expressed in the meetings, but says the agency needs to fix the deficit.

Meanwhile, members of the Transport Workers Union held a rally along Seventh Avenue before the meeting even began.

A heavy police presence could also be seen outside, in likely response to Wednesday night's hearing in Brooklyn where four people were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

The MTA board will meet again on March 24th and vote on some of the proposals, although the MTA chairman did not specify which ones.

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