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During an address at a Center for Working Families conference yesterday, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said that Gov. Spitzer may consider delaying a fare hike. Spitzer already changed his mind about raising the base fare above $2 a ride and limiting any hikes to multi-ride metrocards. Only 15% of riders actually use the $2-a-ride cards though. Silver told the Daily News that he's been urging the governor to postpone any fare hike until next year, when budget deliberations have ended, and that Spitzer hasn't ruled that out as a possibility.

The MTA's board is set to vote on any fare increases December 19, and we hope the board's members are all up to speed on how New Yorkers feel about any price increases, since three of them couldn't even be bothered to show up at a public hearing on the topic. If you--like some MTA board members--were unable to make it to the public hearing on fare increases, the Straphangers Campaign is organizing an online forum Monday from noon to 1:30 pm.

On Monday, December 10th at noon, a special "webinar" – a virtual web-based forum – will be held so you can participate from the ease of your home or office. Once registered, you will be able to listen in on a conversation with MTA leadership in real-time to discuss the MTA financial situation, the fare and toll increase proposal, and the capital plan. Participants will be able to submit written questions in real-time to the presenters who will then answer them orally at the end of the presentations.

Pre-registration for the "webinar" is required and can be done here. Separately, the Daily News also reports that the MTA is backing off plans to remove elevator operators at five stations on the Upper West Side, after it received complaints that it would make the stations less safe. A blind woman was raped inside a subway elevator in Queens two years ago by a man who offered to assist her.