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Braunstein Blasts MTA Over $1 MetroCard Surcharge

Assemblyman calls for agency to drop proposed charge at LIRR vending machines.

State Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, D-Bayside, is calling on the Metropolitan Transit Authority to reconsider a proposed $1 surcharge on new MetroCards purchased at Long Island Rail Road vending machines.

The assemblyman said the proposal, which was included in the MTA's preliminary budget for 2013, said the charge "disproportionately" affects commuters in northeast Queens.

"Unlike MetroCard vending machines, LIRR vending machines are incapable of refilling previously purchased cards," Braunstein said. "The MTA justifies this surcharge by arguing that recycling MetroCards is good for the environment. Therefore, the MTA plan to promote refilling MetroCards by adding a $1 surcharge for new cards serves no purpose at these machines and is unfair to commuters in the outer boroughs."

The MTA could not be reached for comment.

Braunstein said many residents in Bayside, Little Neck and Douglaston purchased their cards at vending machines in LIRR stations because they are the only available outlets.

"After I reached out to the MTA and informed them of this problem, the agency still refused to reconsider the proposed surcharge," he said.

Northeast Queens elected officials and civic leaders had praised the MTA in mid-July after the agency agreed to , including the Q76 and an extension of the Q36 to cover the Q79's old route.

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