Rising Tolls, Meters, Cost Of Gas Punching Drivers In The GutBy Marcia Kramer

LONG ISLAND CITY, N.Y. (CBS 2) — If you drive to work in New York City buckle your seat belts and get ready for some serious sticker shock.

Soaring gas prices, and the increased tolls and parking fees that go into effect in January are going to send your commuting costs through the roof.

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It is a triple whammy. Tolls up a buck … parking meters up 50 cents an hour … soaring gas prices — up 29 cents a gallon in New York from a year ago and up 34 cents a gallon in Bergen County, N.J. — if you commute to work there’s only one word for it: ouch!

“During a tough economy when people are struggling it’s really an increased burden,” Robert Sinclair of AAA told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

Kramer asked Sinclair to compute the affect on the average commuter. Even he was stunned.

“It’s shocking when you really sit down and add up all the numbers,” Sinclair said.

* A person who commutes from the Rockaways to Midtown has been paying $10,570 a year to get to work. Come January the tab will go up $2,895 for a total of $13,465 a year.

* Commuting from Larchmont? The $9,195 you pay now will go up $2,645 to $11,840.

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* And from Morristown, N.J., your $9,530 commuting bill will rise $2,340 to $11,870.

Commuters don’t like it one bit.

“They keep raping us,” Riverdale resident Anna Arsenous said. “Can I afford it? Really not. I’ll have to adjust something else.”

“It’s no good, everything going up. We would like at least something to help working people, at least. We commute every day. You know the rich people, they okay,” Long Island City resident Sergei Denko said.

“I’m not very happy about it, but it’s better to have a job than sit home, so don’t have a choice here,” added Rich Zuk of Centereach.

And it could get even more expensive to commute. There’s the possibility of an increase in the federal gas tax coming down the pike and there’s always the threat of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority had this piece of advice for put-upon drivers: take the train, save some money.

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“When you factor in just the cost of gas, parking and insurance,” an MTA spokesman said, “taking the train or bus will always be the most affordable way to get around New York.”

Marcia Kramer