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Transit Authority shuts more boro token booths

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The New York City Transit Authority is in the process of closing the last of a list of part-time Queens token booths in a controversial citywide shutdown the Metropolitan Transportation Authority says will save $6 million.

The Queens booths to close by the end of March are in stations at 33rd Street and Rawson on the No. 7 line, Woodhaven Boulevard on the V and R lines, and 46th Street and Bliss on the No. 7 line.

The three booths, all part-time operations, were among several in the city originally to have closed by Dec. 31, but were delayed.

All are now scheduled to close by March 31

In July, the Transit Authority shut down booths at Woodhaven Boulevard (G), Hudson Street (A) Rockaway Boulevard (A), 111th Street (A), 63rd Drive (G), 67th Avenue (G), Sutphin Boulevard (F) Parsons Boulevard (F and ) and Vernon-Jackson (7).

The MTA originally proposed to shutter 177 fare booths citywide, including 27 in Queens but later reduced the total to 62 throughout the city and 12 in Queens.

The MTA insisted the closings would not make the stations unsafe, a claim with which transit advocates have consistently taken issue.

Transit officials have explained that in each station where a booth has been closed, there will still be a booth operating. But opponents of the closings said that, in many cases, the open booth is a great distance away.

The MTA took the action in part because the agency believes the need for clerks has been reduced because subway riders can purchase or add value to MetroCards at machines in stations.

But transit advocates and members of the riding public have predicted that without the clerks keeping watch, crime would flourish in subway stations.

The MTA has said it would install special gates for the blind in stations where booths are closed. The agency has also set up call boxes to allow straphangers to ask for and receive directions or report emergencies from clerks in booths that remain staffed.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.

Updated 10:26 am, October 12, 2011
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