Riders Furious Over Fare Hikes After Service Disruptions

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Long-awaited fare hikes finally arrived on Thursday after a week of frustrating delays on buses, subways and more.

Despite roads and rails still being affected by Sunday’s blizzard, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority went ahead with its scheduled increase in fares.

“It has to go forward. At this point the agency fundamentally needs the resources,” MTA chairman Jay Walder said.

1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck at Penn Station

Commuters, however, asked how the MTA could go forward without being 100 percent in service.

“I had to beg a ride to go to work because I couldn’t get no train, no bus,” commuter Daphne Armenstein said.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond on the Upper East Side

Just as straphangers begin to see a return to normal service, they are getting smacked with fare hikes and they’ll affect almost everyone—from buses to subways to the Long Island Railroad to Metro North and most bridges and tunnels.

The price of a single-ride subway ticket is now $2.50, a 7-day unlimited pass is $29 and a 30-day unlimited card is $104. And despite the fact that the LIRR and Metro North were shut down during the storm, monthly passholders will not get a credit or refund.

“It’s unfair to New Yorkers. Service is bad. Everything is bad and look what happened in the snowstorm. And now they’re gonna raise it another quarter?” Harry Taggart, of Bensonhurst, said.

Between the roads and the rails, going anyplace is still a challenge.

“I’ve been hitchhiking. I know it’s dangerous, but I could not get down my street. It’s a sheet of ice,” said Diane Velez, of Middle Village.

Sources tell CBS-2 the MTA eased into the disaster, waiting until Sunday—well after the storm hit—to declare an all-hands-on-deck Level 4 Emergency. That decision caused mass chaos—trains packed with passengers were stranded for hours and hundreds of buses were stuck in snowdrifts.

The price hike is a one-two punch for riders like Robert O’Dea of West Orange. He was among hundreds of passengers stranded for seven hours Monday night on the A train as the City reeled from blizzard conditions.

“We just started freezing and every hour that passed we couldn’t believe we were there for another hour,” O’Dea said.

The snow-related transit slowdown comes on top of budget cuts earlier this year that eliminated some subway lines and slashed service on others. In addition, the MTA laid off hundreds of workers to help eliminate a $900 million gap by year’s end.

State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat from Brooklyn, didn’t mince words about the double-barreled hit on New York commuters.

“The city that never sleeps has been rendered comatose by incompetence and a lack of adequate preparation at City Hall and the MTA,” Jeffries said in a statement. “The decision by the MTA to increase transit fares to record levels for service that remains limited, unreliable or nonexistent is completely unacceptable.”

He called for an investigation of the state-run agency.

Walder said the fare increase “has been planned for six months and it has to go forward at this point.” He said it was “fundamental” to balancing the agency’s budget.

The city official heading the cleanup effort said the situation would improve by the time people were paying more for their rides.

“We expect all streets to be plowed by Thursday morning,” Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said Wednesday.

But MTA spokeswoman Deirdre Parker said Wednesday that getting bus service back to normal by Thursday would be a challenge. She said bus service would be especially spotty in Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens, where many roads were all but impassable.

All over the city, bus passengers climbed over high piles of snow that had been plowed off roads and blocked stops. Occasional clearances between the mounds were filled with deep puddles of slush that swallowed some pedestrians’ feet.

After this week, many commuters just see it all as a slap in the face.

“Bloomberg, I don’t know what you’re doing,” said Donna Timp, of Coney Island.

The MTA said it’s planning a full review of what went wrong and how it can improve for next time.

(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.)

More from Marla Diamond
  • Lyle Lanley

    I’ll tell you this idea has worked in towns such as Ogdenville, North Haverbrook, and Brockway but it may be better suited for Shelbyville

  • Barre Flynn

    We gave our federal leaders permission to stage a war on terror. They did and spent all our money. Then they decided to take over banks and auto companies to save america. They gave their friends a nice bonus. Now they wont help us pay for our transit after they pilfered through out pockets to pay for all this stuff. We let it happen.

  • whattha

    Another bunch of crooks! Ali Baba and the 40 thieves

  • anonymous

    The fundamental problem is that MTA is a monopoly. I personally know of directors and senior directors at the MTA who are paid $130,000+ and do absolutely nothing. Others in that pay range are totally incompetent. Either demonopolize the MTA or else do a major management cleanup starting from the top and working down. As was eloquently said, throw the bums out!

  • Joe

    Keep squeezing the middle class and see what happens.

  • Derrick

    We as fed up New Yorkers should “STRIKE” against the MTA just as their own workers have done in the past to show that there are strength in numbers we the riding public. As for the Politicians not since Spitzer has anyone asked the MTA to see there Second set of Books, Yes folks there are a Second set of Books.

    • SG

      I’ve always wondered this, Why is there a second set of books? Doesn’t that just scream SCAM?

  • The Truth

    The only way to truly tackle MTA budget woes is to conduct and independent audit of the entire agency. Of course this will NEVER happen as too much truth about this wasteful inefficient agency will come to light.

  • Pedro Sandoval

    We put up with it, so they will continue to raise the fairs. We’ll see the base fair go out another .50 in a year or two.

  • Anthony

    MTA is nothing more than a scam. In the last 3 months I have witnesses 4-8 Metro North employees performing non-work related tasks or doing literally nothing at all and this is just at the Cold Spring station. Who knows what happens at all the other stations. Within this time I also had 5 train rides disturbed by the fact the the train broke down. Lastly 3 times a week I would get on the train from Grand Central and there would be standing room only which would be fine if I wasnt paying and already overpriced fare.

  • Tori

    After all of the bad service this week they are not only raising the fares they are also running SATURDAY service for buses and subways on Friday. Don’t they realize that Friday all banks, post offices and financial markets are open. I have to get to work and now my bus won’t be running. SO NOW WE HAVE A HIKE AND NO TRANSPORTATION ON A NORMAL WEEKDAY. INSANE AND UNFAIR!!

  • JJ

    For the price you are paying for ANY Mta service,wheather its a bus,train or Metro They should be handing you Breakfeast as you enter

  • mad as hell

    People who work for the MTA brag about it!!!!
    ALL of it.
    SICK…how do you not have a conscience?

  • JOEY


    • BF

      Ya the drivers deserve better than the lying union reps. Please don’t take it out on the drivers, it is a really hard and stressful job. They try their best dispite what Bloomberg has done to them. Their union leaders should be hung.

  • JOE

    @ mad as hell-i cannot tell you how many times on the Hudson line when i would take an ealry train home i would see dozens of workers sleeping in Mta
    trucks.Dozens sleeping.The croton Train yard at night is like a party-all the workers outside on their cell phones.WE ARE PAYING DOUBLE THE PRICE.


    • mad as hell

      Disgusting really

    • Doug

      Don’t know what train you take out of the city Joe, but I take the 6:14 at night and EVERY night there are 3 Metro North workers, and I use that term loosely, just sitting and chatting in the last car of the train. EVERY NIGHT!! The train is usually on Track 37.

  • mad as hell

    The CORRUPTION is so embeded and rampant…..When are WE THE PEOPLE going to take back our country, from all of the GREEDY CORRUPT people in this world……I fear for my kids….what a legacy we are leaving them with.
    Very Very SAD.

  • Mad as hell

    Maybe the MTA should check their trains that are in the shop being worked on and get the money from the WORKERS WHO SLEEP on the trains during their shifts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Or from the gross pensions that are being given out! OR from the people out on disability working construction on the side while getting disability benefits!!!!!

  • Mike

    wait so they planned a fair hike 6 months ago? didnt they raise fairs 6 months ago already? so at the time of the fare hike they figured that they were going to hike up the fairs again?! thats definitely not fair.

    but no one is going to do anything about it because the extra money goes into the politicians pockets




    BLOOMBERG OUT NOW ! ! You have overstayed your welcome Sir !

    • Ed

      I agree that they should be forced to open their books. Bloomberg may have overstayed his welcome but the MTA is a state agency. The state is more corrupt than the city.

  • MOE


  • Pi$$ed Off Long Islander

    It’s nice that the remaining working public that use public transportation are the ones being used to subsidize the MTA shortfalls. Where is our government to help out the constituents? OK, so they gave us the $230 pre-tax relief for our transit fares, but….. When the economy bounces back and there are more riders, will the fares then decrease? I think not. It’s the same thing that happened to food prices when oil was at its highs. When oil came back down, food prices only did so marginally. The transportation infrastructure is a bigger problem on the whole across America. Fares do not encourage us to use public transportation. As service and route cuts continue and fares increase, it is much more convenient to take personal vehicles for travel. I can drive my Big American Gas Guzzler on a big trip and the cost is exactly the same as if I were to use Amtrak. Actually, when diesel prices were higher, it was cheaper to drive. The difference is that by taking my own vehicle, I am on my own schedule. Where is the incentive for public transit? It simply does not exist. I too will very soon consider driving to my work in NYC as most of the working public should.

  • Margaret

    Where is the public advocate, the city comptroller, all of our elected officials who can look into the incredible corrupted MTA?

    No other angency is run in this fashion.

    Everyone must be getting paid off

  • KIM



    • The Truth

      These bums are the worst and NYC needs to get real mad. Ever see the movie The Warriors? Time to jump turnstiles again in NY.

      UNIONS at the MTA chew off alot of the fat too. Jay Walder is just the smuck thats why he is given the WELFARE package. Dig deeper to find the real rats.

      • AD

        people are already jumping turnstiles, with less station attendants people dont care anymore. I remember back in the mid 80s when hardly anyone took the subways, trains were spray painted, its quite possible that history can repeat itself.

  • angry

    who is responsible for clearing the snow from the bus stops. Passengers are waiting for buses in the streets. If an uncoming car hits a patch of ice people are going to be run over. what a joke. Main street flushing was a diaster yesterday all people in the streets waiting for buses. someone will be killed.

  • JOE

    @ T They pay into Pensions becasue they get paid to much and have the funds to do it.Thsiis all part of the Grand scheme of the MTA

    People are not stupid!!!!! We know whats going on.

  • joe

    What about the money they get from the parking lots.I used to pay 2.75 now it jumped to 3.25.Years ago i paid 1.75.Whoe getting rich.The mta

  • jon

    The mta fares r too high, we all know that. But, wat people alll forget is the realestate the mta owns. When u see a candy stand, small store, or any kind of shopping @ any mta managed location those people r paying the mta rent!!! Thousands n thousands evert month r being shoveled into the pockets of these corrupt individuals…sickening!!!!

  • JOE

    Most people on Hudson Line are now going to car pool.The price is too high.Driving is cheaper.You can lease a Lexus,pay insurace and gas and it will be cheaper they taking metro north.Car pool with a few people in the comfort of your car-wow what savings

    • a

      Yeah its cheaper until u tear up your car in 5-7 years or you hit a deer along the way and all of the people carpooling with you are trying to sue you….

  • JOE


    • T

      @ Joe…stop being so ignorant..the union memebers pay for their pension…duh..stop complaining..with the money you have…buy a CAR!!

  • Fred

    The quality of service should improve now.

  • JOE

    The Mta is one of the biggest rip offs in New York.I see so many Mta workers family and freind show an employee badge and they all ride for free.And metro north is worse.17 years i have beens taking the train,the same train.Nothing changed.For $404 a ride from grand central to beacon should cost $175.00 not 404 dollars.Who is getting rich.Many condutors have said in the past they make their own salery by working night shifts and overetime.We are paying the corupt pensions for past failures,period.Stnad up and fight.WE NEED A 25% REDUCTION IN PRICE,NOW

    • Doug

      Thank you Joe! I myself have been taking the train from Beacon for the past 15 years and service has NEVER been worse. What happened on Tuesday, 12/28/10, on the 6:57am train from Beacon was an absolute horror. Standing room only and they continued to take on passengers right up to Cortland even with an medical emergency onboard! People were standing in the aisles and car vestibules. To add insult to injury we had to change trains at Croton Harmon to another standing room only train! I myself got caught straddeling 2 cars in the vestibules. This is what the taxes on my car, drivers license and cell phone pay for? Severly over crowded and very dangerous conditions. The cars smell, are dirty and in the summer the AC does not work! The next public hearing is January 24th at 8:30am, I for one intend to be there! Show up in force, forget thier agenda! Complain and domniate the entire meeting!

    • T

      @JOE.. more ignorant comments…..Take the test…and wait to ge a job with the MTA..HATER…( I don’t work for the MTA…and I live in another state…)


        @T: You’re the ignorant one. From another State? Well, here’s a NY “Mind your own f….n business!” (flippin the Bird).

  • Mike

    Wait till cuomo raise’s your taxes, and don’t think he won’t.

  • Mike

    Wait till Cuomo raise’s your taxes. And don’t thnk he won’t!

  • Concerned

    MTA system was in a surplus about 10-12 years ago. Where does all the money go? Corrupted MTA wants more of our money to fill their damn pockets. Great goin. American middle class (now poor) poor (now homeless) great again. God Bless us Americans.

    • arn

      Where did the surplus go? Where’s the transparency? Why doesn’t the people of NYC have any say on how the MTA is run? Why are we held hostage both by bordeline criminal management and plain lazy-ass transit workers on a daily basis? And why don’t we fight back?

  • ThePatriotMuckraker.

    You must make do with less so that the bankers, corporations, and politicians they control, can have more.

    • Margret

      Well stated

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