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Riders group praises NYC transit's Sandy rebound

NEW YORK (AP) -- Superstorm Sandy brought out both the worst and the best in New York City transit, the Straphangers Campaign said Thursday.

The storm topped the 2012 "best" list because transit rebounded so quickly that New Yorkers considered it a "near miracle," the advocacy group said.

"Most subways were up and running a few days after the storm. It was transit at its best, with managers and workers moving mountains," it said.

Sandy, which flooded many parts of the subways, also heads the list of the year's worst transit events.

The No. 2 spot in the negative column: "Sandy cost riders big." The Metropolitan Transportation Authority sustained $5 billion in damage; $1 billion in bonds for repairs "will come from the riders, who will pay $62 million a year in interest for decades," the group said.

It considers the December departure of MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota the third most negative transit event of 2012. He quit after a year on the job to explore a mayoral run; the Straphangers Campaign doesn't like what it calls the agency's "revolving door."

Fare hikes approved last month made the No. 4 spot in the negative column. The base subway and bus fare will rise by 25 cents, to $2.50, though some paper single-ride tickets will cost $2.75. A monthly MetroCard pass will cost nearly 8 percent more, or $112. The increases take effect March 1.

Subway crime was the next big concern on the annual report card. Among other things, it said, "New Yorkers were shocked by two random deaths, in which people were pushed onto the tracks."

The list details the events and circumstances deemed "best" and "worst" — 10 each — on the group's website.