MTA Hearing Turns Rowdy In Brooklyn
March 4, 2010
NY1 – Four people were arrested Wednesday night after an argument broke out at a Metropolitan Transportation Authority hearing in Brooklyn.
It happened inside the Cantor Auditorium of the Brooklyn Museum.
Police say a speaker was led away and later handcuffed after she went up to the podium to try and speak out of turn. She was asked to stop and when she didn’t, witnesses say she was taken outside.
“I have no connection to her, but I just felt an adult or someone should be involved because she looked like she was probably under 18,” said one witness. “And then he really started rough-handling her and really kind of backed her out. So then I followed her and I followed him and I kept saying ‘Why are you doing it? What’s going on? Why isn’t any adult involved?’ And then he took her around and locked the door behind her.”
Others in the audience got involved, too. Some were led out into the hallway and handcuffed. One was cuffed inside the auditorium.
In all, four people were arrested for disorderly conduct.
The hearing drew hundreds of protestors angry over the agency’s proposed plan to eliminate the Z express line, reduce service on eight other subway lines and terminate more than 12 bus routes.
The MTA says the cuts are necessary to help close a nearly $800 million budget gap.
“You understand what we’re doing here? We’re hurting people’s lives. It’s wrong,” said State Senator Martin Golden.
Some bus riders who spoke with NY1 before the meeting said the cuts will make it harder to get around, especially on the weekends.
“A lot of our express buses on the weekends won’t be available and waiting now for the B16 is affected quite a bit, these lines we take,” said one Bay Ridge resident.
“I have a cane so it’s hard to get around. They keep saying that the trains go the same as the buses, but there’s no handicap access, so we’re very concerned and they talk about raising fares at the same time if they even keep the lines,” said another.
Meanwhile, a similar meeting was held Wednesday night in the Fordham section of the Bronx where straphangers expressed similar concerns.
High school students were also on hand to protest the plan to get rid of student MetroCards.
“Bottom line, Bronxites should realize that these cuts in one way or another will affect them — with service delays, poorer service and more unreliable service. MetroCards for our students will be eliminated, should these cuts go through,” said City Councilman James Vacca.
“I have sat through two public hearings so far, I will continue sitting through public hearings and I think the voices of the people are powerful, they’re passionate, they’re moving, and one cannot be help but be moved by them,” said MTA Chairman & CEO Jay Walder.
The fifth and final hearing will be held Thursday at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan at 6 p.m.