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Inner City Press Bronx Report- December 16, 2002

     At press time for this Report, despite the "tolling of the clock," it is not known whether or not the Transit Workers Union will go on strike. However, in the run-up to the strike deadline, various plans were announced that troubled many Bronxites. In order to get suburbanites more quickly into Manhattan, Metro North announced that Bronx station stops would be skipped. Already far too few of these Metro North trains stop in The Bronx, and Metro North has closed many stations, for example Claremont Parkway. Now even the remaining stops would get skipped. Here are the squibs: " On the Harlem line, regular service will bypass all Bronx stations... From 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., regularly scheduled trains from the suburbs on the Harlem and Hudson lines will bypass most Bronx stations."

     In fact, Metro North admits that Bronxites would be the most inconvenienced. "If there is a strike, everyone who uses Metro-North will be affected,'' said railroad spokesman Dan Brucker. "They'll be affected by crowded trains, fewer trains, and a Bronx shuttle service where customers may have to double back to get to their ultimate destination. Reverse commuters who travel from the Bronx to Westchester will now have to first travel south to Grand Central Terminal and then take a Westchester-bound train unless they can be picked up at Riverdale or Mount Vernon West. Their trip is going to take longer, cost more and be more crowded." It was a not-dishonest appraisal of the impact. But what hasn't been given is the rationale for the choices to disproportionately impact the Bronx, particularly the South Bronx, where 450,000 people live. Additionally, ferry service was scheduled for every borough except... The Bronx.

    Inner City Press has heard some more hi-falutin media dismiss the TWU's complaints about lack of respect. But we've also heard, in an early morning broadcast on WOR-Radio, the TWU negotiating team compared to "a bunch of rappers," and some other, even less-coded catchphrases. Most Bronxites interviewed by ICP this week do not agree with the Taylor Law, which purports to take away the transit workers' right to strike. If the strike in fact takes place, it will be interesting to see polling data, broken down by borough and in other ways.

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