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On a bus for the homeless, a push to forgive the fare

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On a bus for the Homeless, a push to forgive the fare

By ALEX MINDLIN

NY TIMES

July 8, 2008

 

[float=right]bus190.jpg

G. Paul Burnett/The New York Times

“Why kick ’em when they’re down?”

one community advocate said of the

homeless.

[/float]THE great complex of homeless shelters on Wards Island, with 838 residents, has a rhythm distinct from that of the city at large. Dorms open around 5 p.m, curfews generally take effect around 10 p.m, and the crowd on the island swells and shrinks in time with those rhythms.

 

That is why at 3 on a recent afternoon, only a handful of island residents were waiting at 125th Street and Lexington Avenue for the M35 bus, which offers the quickest journey back to their home. At the stop, where waiting residents often drape themselves over the railing of the subway entrance or wander into a nearby drugstore past wary security guards, two residents discussed the matter of the fare.

 

“Not everybody that lives in the shelter has $2,” said Charles Davis, one of the island residents. “Come on, the average person, if they had $2, they wouldn’t be in the shelter.”

 

Jackie Barnes, who has lived on the island for nine months, disagreed. “A lot of people take their money and use it to buy drugs,” she said. “Then they don’t want to pay the fare.”

 

Picture the Homeless, an advocacy group, agrees with Mr. Davis. The group maintains that it is unfair for the police to ticket passengers who cannot pay the fare on the M35, and it is urging New York City Transit to make the trip free.

 

“They’re already down and out,” said Turhan White, an organizer for Picture the Homeless. “Why kick ’em when they’re down?”

 

On June 5, a half-dozen members of the advocacy group rode the bus without paying, according to City Limits, a magazine that reported the campaign.

 

Judging by several recent trips, however, not paying seemed to be routine, as most of the shelter-bound passengers walked past the driver without dipping a MetroCard, or dropping a couple of coins into the slot.

 

“The bus is free,” said James Matos, a skinny 28-year old who had been living in the shelter for three weeks. “I ride it four times a day, and I never pay. Some people put in a penny, out of respect.”

 

One bus driver, who did not give his name, explaining that he was afraid of getting into trouble with his employers, said he sympathized with his riders. “I tell people, ‘If you don’t want the cops to hassle you, make it look good,’ ” he said. “ ‘Put a penny in the farebox, and at least you can say you tried to pay.’ ”

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Yeah, I think at least, if a homeless wants to get to the island and don't have the fare, just let them on so at least you know these people are getting to the shelter well.

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MTA knows what goes on on these routes. The city itself should be providing free shuttles to the shelters on Warts Isle, not MTA. But it is what it is, and we all know who basically rides the M35. The homeless and disabled........

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I agree with both of you, but Wards is not the only "Shelter Area." They are all over the city, and those people dont have means of transportation either. I think MTA should issue the DHS 2 special 30 day unlimited passes per resident. After that, if they still don't have a job, set up some kind of system to see if that person is eligable for another, but if they spend the money they have on drugs, then they should be cut off. I know this plan is a little rough around the edges, but something like that could work.

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I agree with both of you, but Wards is not the only "Shelter Area." They are all over the city, and those people dont have means of transportation either. I think MTA should issue the DHS 2 special 30 day unlimited passes per resident. After that, if they still don't have a job, set up some kind of system to see if that person is eligable for another, but if they spend the money they have on drugs, then they should be cut off. I know this plan is a little rough around the edges, but something like that could work.

 

It could happen, but of course your mayor moneybags would have to fund it, and give the money to MTA to do this........

 

Those who spend money on drugs, the city needs to help. It would be their last drug, as the drug they buy would make their eyes swell until they burst, them choke on their own tongue, them release their bowels and bladder, and they would bleed from their ears, while they painfully die........No more worrying about druggies begging and stealing. The rate of death would out pace the rate of new users.........020.gif

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It could happen, but of course your mayor moneybags would have to fund it, and give the money to MTA to do this........

 

Those who spend money on drugs, the city needs to help. It would be their last drug, as the drug they buy would make their eyes swell until they burst, them choke on their own tongue, them release their bowels and bladder, and they would bleed from their ears, while they painfully die........No more worrying about druggies begging and stealing. The rate of death would out pace the rate of new users.........020.gif

 

LMAO!!

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get an old bus.put up a sign that says "free fare................then drive it into the river.

 

 

Hmmmm. I don't really think thats a nice thing to do.

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Hmmmm. I don't really think thats a nice thing to do.

 

I concur.

 

I disagree. I just only want homeless druggies and drunks on it though. People who are homeless do to reasons beyond their control (no job, and Public Assistance is acting an ass with them, even though they worked in their lifetime, so should be first to get help), I sympathize with. They could be any of us. All it takes is one good injury......

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I disagree. I just only want homeless druggies and drunks on it though. People who are homeless do to reasons beyond their control (no job, and Public Assistance is acting an ass with them, even though they worked in their lifetime, so should be first to get help), I sympathize with. They could be any of us. All it takes is one good injury......

 

Now that I will agree with!

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