Straphangers clearly aren’t ready for their close-ups.
The MTA yesterday held it’s first-ever “video-conference” hearings, at which the public was supposed to sound off on camera about looming toll and fare hikes — but barely anyone showed up.
Only two people recorded their fare-hike feelings on camera during the four-hour meeting at the MTA’s Downtown Brooklyn offices.
They admitted it felt pretty weird to stand in a room and talk to a camera.
Bennett said the fare hikes would make it difficult for her to do her volunteer work for Homeward Bound NYC, which feeds the homeless in the subways.
“We take the train every day to feed the homeless,” she told the camera in a room with three MTA staffers and a reporter.
“A lot of our money comes out of our pocket. That’s not really fair to the working class in New York City.”
She took up about 45 seconds. It made for a quick conference.
The agency is giving speakers three minutes of camera time to talk about the hikes.
It’s asking riders to pick one of four plans it unveiled last month that could raise the cost of a monthly MetroCard anywhere from $109 to $125. The current cost is $104.
The MTA said it will send the two taped messages to its board members, who will vote in December on the fare hikes.
The hikes — needed to fill a $450 million budget hole — will take effect in March.
The agency has scheduled three more of the bizarre video conferences for next week.
On Tuesday, riders can attend the video hearings at either the Metro-North Poughkeepsie station, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., or the LIRR Hicksville station, from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.
A fourth video conference is scheduled for Wednesday at the LIRR Ronkonkoma train station.
That one will run from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Riders not comfortable venting to the camera still can sound off the old-fashioned way. The MTA is also holding conventional public hearings on the hikes next week. Those hearings — which will be held in all areas served by the MTA — include four in New York City.
The Manhattan hearing will be held next Tuesday at Baruch College at 5 p.m. A Bronx hearing is planned on the same night and time at Hostos College. The Staten Island hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
The MTA’s plan includes hiking the cash toll on the Verrazano Bridge to $15.
The final New York City hearing will be at the Sheraton La Guardia Hotel in Flushing on Thursday at 5 p.m.
The first public hearing was held on Wednesday in Brooklyn at the height of the wintry nor’easter that pounded the region.
Only 26 speakers showed up.
“I’ve been going to these MTA public hearings since 1980 and this is the worst attended Brooklyn hearing I’ve ever seen,” said Gene Russianoff, staff attorney for the Straphangers Campaign, a subway advocacy group.
The MTA postponed a Wednesday hearing in Long Island on the fare hikes because the facility where it was scheduled was without power.