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MTA Releases 4 Different Proposals Outlining Fare, Toll Hikes

Opponents Out In Force; Straphangers: We're Always Left Holding The Bag
MetroCard machine (file/Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

MetroCard machine (file/Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Metropolitan Transportation Authority released four different proposals Monday outlining its latest fare hikes for its bridges, subways and rails.

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman With MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota

The proposals range from increasing the base fare by 25 cents to raising the cost of a monthly MetroCard to $125.

EXTRA: Click here For The MTA Proposals (pdf)

The MTA said it’s necessary to raise rates to pay for costs it doesn’t have control over, like debt service, pensions, energy and employee and retiree health care.

1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reports

Here’s the break down of the proposals:

Option 1A

  • Base MetroCard and local bus fare goes up by 25 cents to $2.50.
  • Single ride subway ticket jumps to $2.75.
  • Bonus value would be 7 percent.
  • Monthly card would jump from $104 to $112.
  • Weekly pass would go up $1.

Option 1B

  • Base MetroCard and local bus fare goes up by 25 cents to $2.50.
  • Single ride subway ticket jumps to $2.75.
  • There will be no bonus value.
  • Monthly cards would increase to $109.
  • A weekly card would stay the same at $29.

Option 2A

  • Base MetroCard and local bus fare stays at $2.25.
  • Single rides would stay at $2.50
  • Price per ride for a MetroCard bonus would drop from 7 to 5 percent.
  • Monthly cards would jump $21 to $125.
  • Unlimited weekly cards would increase by $5 to $34.

Option 2B

  • Base MetroCard and local bus fare stays at $2.25.
  • Single rides would stay at $2.50.
  • There would be no bonus value.
  • Monthly cards would increase to $119.
  • A weekly pass would go up to $32.

All the proposals also include a $1 surcharge to buy a new MetroCard. The MTA said it wants to add the surcharge as a way to encourage riders to refill their existing cards and therefore reduce litter.

“Each one of those four proposals will generate $277 million, which is the target for the transit authority,” MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph Lhota said.

Fares on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North would go up by about 8 percent. Hikes are also planned for the MTA’s bridges and tunnels.

WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reports

But Gene Russianoff with the Straphangers Campaign said “enough is enough.”

“If this fare hike goes through, it’ll be the fourth increase in five years,” Russianoff said.

Brooklyn State Sen. Martin J. Golden issued a statement Monday denouncing the MTA’s proposals.

“Here they go again,” said Golden, who is a member of the MTA Capital Review Board. “In the environment of a struggling economy, when many New Yorkers are out of work, the Metropolitan Transit Authority is wrongfully looking to dig deeper into the pockets of straphangers and motorists.”

Straphangers agreed, telling CBS 2’s Don Dahler on Monday they’re fed up.

“I think it’s kind of unfair to have a raise come out of the blue just like that,” one man said.

“They should manage their existing systems a lot better,” another added.

“All the money they have to spend for transport, it’s gotta be horrible,” a woman said.

On Monday night it was more of the same at Penn Station, where those just getting the news were less than enthused.

“I would like to see their books audited,” one straphanger told CBS 2’s Amy Dardashtian.

“It should go to the people who work hard. I doubt that the people who work hard are going to get a salary increase,” Paula Gibly said.

“It’s getting harder on us and harder on my family,” another straphanger said.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb With Mayor Bloomberg

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a daily straphanger. Okay, he’s a multi-billionaire. Okay, he gets the senior discount.

But does he prefer raising fares or cutting discounts?

“My preference is to find another source for revenue for the MTA and get cars off the streets,” Bloomberg said Monday. “You want me to go through all of that stuff about congestion pricing again or you’ve got it in your word processor? Just call it up and use it.”

The proposed rate hikes are open to a public review process, which will begin in November. There will be eight public hearings where commuters can suggest different ways of distributing the burden. This year, commuters can videotape their testimony at select MTA stations, CBS 2’s Dardashtian reported.

The agency will vote on a final budget in December. The fare hikes are scheduled to go into effect in March.

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