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MTA eliminates free pass perks

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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board has voted to abolish the policy of giving board members free bus and subway MetroCards and free E-ZPasses for personal use outside of MTA business.

State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo had declared free passes illegal since the MTA board members serve without compensation of any kind.

Under the new MTA policy those serving on the board now may use the passes only in connection with MTA matters. Former members of the board will no longer be allowed to use their passes.

The MTA board acted at its regular monthly meeting at the agency's headquarters in Manhattan.

Gene Russianoff, attorney for the transit advocacy agency Straphangers Campaign, spoke at the meeting:

"The composition of the MTA board is unrepresentative of the riders who use your system - whether it's by income, gender or race," Russianoff said. "No wonder your customers and their elected officials howled when they heard that MTA board members were exempted from feeling the impact of of fare and toll hikes for life."

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