NEW YORK (CBS 2/WCBS 880/1010 WINS/AP) – From city subways and buses to commuter railroads, millions will soon be paying more for mass transit after the MTA board approved fare hikes for the fourth time in 5 years.
LISTEN: WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb reports on the fare hike
LISTEN: WCBS 880′s Catherine Cioffi on Westchester and the payroll tax
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Kathleen Maloney reports on board members’ justification for the vote
CBS 2′s Tony Aiello reported that the 35 percent of riders who use the 30-day unlimited ride MetroCard would be among the hardest hit by the fare hikes. The price of the card will jump to $104 from the $89 it currently costs. Buying the card in 2011 will mean paying an extra $180 over the course of the year.
Other fares will increase, although not as much. The $2.25 one-way subway and bus fare will stay the same except for single-ride tickets, which will rise to $2.50.
Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road fares were also raised between 7-9 percent as a result of the vote, WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb reported.
Aiello spoke with some straphangers and asked where they might potentially cut back to make up for the fare hikes.
“I don’t know…I won’t have an iPhone anymore, I’d have to downgrade my phone or something,” Nicole Taffe said.
“I would probably cut back on my cable consumption,” Mark Anderson said.
Others contended that a rider rebellion would send a strong message to the MTA.
“What I think we should do is I think en masse, we should just jump the turnstiles,” said one straphanger who spoke to 1010 WINS’ Kathleen Maloney.
Emotions and tensions ran high at the MTA hearing Thursday night in which the hikes were approved following a 12-2 vote.
“How can you sleep at night voting for such a thing,” asked transit advocate Marty Goldman.
“The MTA is run by the same interests that control the whole government,” said Augustin Castro, another transit advocate. “A bunch of rich [expletive].”
Perennial dissenter and Board commissioner Norman Seabrook took issue with the namecalling.
“Give it to the mayor,” Seabrook said. “This is his city. He knows how to turn businesses around. If this was a private corporation – we would have closed up a long time ago.”
The vote came just a day after the Straphangers’ Campaign released its annual State of the Subways report card, which indicated that despite deep system wide service cuts and poor ride quality on the C and several other lines, the city’s subway system was cleaner and more reliable than last year.
MTA Chairman Jay Walder, citing a 20 percent reduction in administrative payroll, said the fare hikes could’ve been much steeper. Walder also added that raising the fares was the last option to avoid even more devastating service cuts.
“I would certainly accept that some of these actions were painful for our customers, and some of our employees,” Walder said. “I don’t think we can miss that.”
The MetroCard increases will take effect in December. Bridge and tunnel toll hikes will be voted on later.
(TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)