A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York.

By Nina Pajak

Holy curveball, Batman.

The MTA is planning to hike fares again. Whaaat!? But, I thought they had cut operating costs and increased revenue through alternative means, like selling more advertising and launching a pilot program to train mutant-sized rats to drive the trains. You see, rats don’t know anything about unions. Yet.

But it’s all for naught, as it seems the agency to which every news outlet in the city loves to refer to as “cash-strapped” is, indeed, still strapped for cash. Perpetually so. Who knows where all of our money is going. To my untrained eye, most of the trains and stations seem—how to put this? Old and dirty. And service is frequently slow or interrupted, especially during atmospheric catastrophes, like moderate rainfall.

EXTRA: Click here For The MTA Proposals (pdf)

Which is fine, I don’t need to be conveyed between climate-controlled, gilded terminals in a high-tech subway car cleaner than my apartment. This isn’t Tokyo or Washington, D.C. But then, given these shortcomings, I have a hard time understanding why we’re constantly being hit up for money. The MTA is like that ungrateful friend you have who keeps getting caught short but has a great job lined up, promise, and this is the last time but he really needs help getting out of this one last jam. Maybe when the MTA graduated from college, no one explained the dangers of credit card debt and how interest rates work. Classic mistake.

Anyway, we have four options laid out for how fares will be raised (and oh yes, they will be raised). I can’t go into all of them, they make my head hurt. The bottom line is, some involve raising the base fare to $2.50 and only raising the monthly and weekly rate some. A couple involve leaving the base fare where it is at $2.25 and raising the monthly and weekly rates a lot. Like, so much that I’m not sure how your average 9-5er could possibly justify the expense.

I would suggest we all just start walking more, but this decision comes conveniently at the cusp of winter, when the misery of walking from A to B outweighs the misery of getting smacked around every time you swipe your MetroCard.

Bloomberg, fellow straphanger and resident mayor/billionaire weighed in on the issue in a manner that would make Montgomery Burns proud: “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.”

That’s right, you lazy muckrakers and sad excuses for newspapermen! Call it up on your word processors and bring ’round the buggy. It’s nearly time for elevenses and the automat is all the way across town. Excellent.

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