NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Hit with fare hikes overnight, straphangers were taken by surprise Sunday morning by the new cost of commuting on the New York City subway system and commuter train lines.
As CBS 2’s Amy Dardashitan reported, all MTA fare hikes are now in effect, affecting not only the millions of commuters who rely on the transit agency’s subways, buses and commuter trains, but also bridges and tunnels.
The final round of hikes took effect early Sunday.
Bus and subway fare hikes took effect at midnight, while tolls on the MTA’s seven bridges and two tunnels went up at 2 a.m.
The mass transit fare now costs $2.50, up from $2.25. A single-ride MetroCard now costs $2.75. Express buses are now $6.
In addition, a 30-day unlimited MetroCard rose $8 to $112. A seven-day MetroCard went up a dollar from $29 to $30. There is also a $1 surcharge to buy a new MetroCard, rather than refilling an old one.
Toll hikes vary per bridge or tunnel.
Fare increases for Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad took effect on Friday.
LIRR and Metro-North fares went up between eight and nine percent, depending on distance and ticket type.
Ahead of the Monday morning commute, LIRR customers were surprised by the new MTA fares.
“We paid over $30 today just for the two of us round trip,” said Manhattan resident Eileen Kreiger.
On the LIRR, a peak trip to Syosset used to be $11.50, but now it is $12.50.
Many commuters heading in from Long Island also take the subway, and thus get hit with the hike twice. And more than a few commuters were not pleased at the increased fares.
“It’s like, when is this going to end?” said Rich Devaney of New Jersey. “There’s no regulation – that’s my question, they can just do whatever they want?”
But some commuters were resigned to the reality of the hike.
“It’s kind of like a necessary evil,” said Jai Garrett of Brooklyn. “There is no other option, so you kind of have to grit your teeth and bear it.”
“It’s unfortunate, but I mean, things get more expensive. You have to pay for it,” said commuter Sherif Moussa.
Bridge and tunnel users were also frustrated.
“Every time I go, it’s more and more money, which is kind of disconcerting, because you think, ‘What am I getting?’” said commuter Ann Osborne. “The road isn’t any better.”
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it is trying to raise $480 million to pay higher employee and health care and pension costs.
The transparency Web site SeeThroughNY reported that 10 percent of the MTA workforce made six figures in 2010, including a conductor who made nearly $250,000.
“I think they need a little less corruption and a little more efficiency in their operations,” said commuter Julie Burmeister.
But the MTA said it has no wage increases in its last budget and has cut $700 million. Yet, it still plans to put another fare hike into effect in 2015.
You can find a full list of fare increases here.
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