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MTA Chair Under Fire Over Fare Hikes

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NEW YORK – Demonstrators protested outside MTA headquarters Wednesday demanding that the Authority’s top gun, Jay Walder, be laid off. Inside the building, however, there were no happy faces either. Board members listened to twenty angry speakers rail against the proposed fare hikes and tolls.

“I come on behalf of the straphangers,” said James Vacca, city council member. “The transfers are more, the waiting time is more, the fares are more and the service is less.”

While the $2.25 single subway ride would stay the same, MTA board members are considering putting a limit on unlimited monthly passes. They would either jump from $89 to at least $99 with a 90-ridelimit, or become a $104 unlimited monthly pass.

For MetroNorth and LIRR commuters, the average ticket increase would be between 7.6 percent and 9.4 percent depending on type and zone. The one-way toll on the Verrazano Bridge would go up to $12 from $11, and major crossings like the Bronx Whitestone would go up to $6 from $5.50. EZ Pass would see a 10 percent increase as well.

This is all because of a growing MTA budget gap, now at $800 million.

Before these hikes go into effect, one speaker said Jay Walder should consider taking a pay cut himself.

“When the chairman of the MTA is making $450,000 a year, it’s hard to justify a transit worker or rider getting the burden,” said John Samuelson, the Transportation Workers Union President. “It’s hypocritical.”

MetroNorth commuters and subway riders aren’t happy.

“Delays on trains, with high unemployment, I don’t think that’s a good incentive,” said Ruben Edward, a MetroNorth rider.

“It’s not okay,” added Stephanie Viera, a subway rider. “It’s going way up. Way too much for people who ride the subway every day.”

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