Tea Party people and health care town brawlers like to brag on their obstreperous gatherings, but MTA public hearings, in which management of the Transit Authority pretends to listen to commuters, are often contentious and are getting more so. Last year a guy threatened to throw a shoe at MTA then-chairman Elliot Sander. In the wake of that, MTA started bringing NYPD detector wands, bag searches and bomb-sniffing dogs to meetings.
Last night at a Brooklyn Museum hearing on the coming service cuts, including the abolition of free and reduced-fare student MetroCards, four people were arrested.
A young woman apparently tried to take the podium out of turn and was hustled out and arrested. This provoked the already-riled crowd, and three other attendees were also apprehended. Cops claim three of the detainees have been arrested before public disturbance.
The same night, the Bronx MTA hearing was slightly less rowdy, but hundreds turned out to bitch inside and yell outside.
Other hearings are set for tonight. Some Queens commuters joined councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. outside a subway Tuesday morning to encourage attendance at their local event and protest the coming M and W train cuts.
Several Staten Islanders, including state senator Diane Savino, are complaining that the Staten Island hearing was located at a local college, and think one closer to the ferry would have been more convenient. Nonetheless 1,500 people reportedly showed up. Borough president James Molinaro, a Republican, was so upset by proposed bus cuts in the borough that he even suggested another Verrazano bridge toll hike to prevent them. “I’m not going to cry over people from Ohio or Wyoming who would have to pay a dollar more,” he told the Advance.
There’s a hearing tonight at FIT. Prepare to be wanded, at least.