NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has unveiled plans that could raise fares and tolls by four percent over the next two years.

As CBS2’s Christine Sloan reported, local riders are not happy about it.

“If there’s a raise in the price there should be a raise in the quality of service and there is not,” said Clinton Hill, Brooklyn resident Jeannette Espinosa. “For the subways, it’s terrible. There’s always delays,” she added.

Others have raised concerns that this will impact suburban riders the most.

“That number I know on the Island and in the Hudson Valley gets to be a little high the farther out you go,” said Mitchell Pally.

Metro-North Railroad rider Courtney Scott pays $8.75 each way. “It would be exponential,” she said of the proposed fare hikes, admitting she would not be able to afford the close to $17 dollar round trip every day.

“That’s ridiculous. We travel every day on the (Long Island Rail Road) we can’t afford this,” said Mineola resident Alicia Loeffler. “The Long Island Railroad’s history of incompetence and mismanagement is legendary,” added a frustrated Jeff Solomon.

A monthly MetroCard would rise from $116 to $121. Fares would also increase on Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road, and tolls would go up at MTA bridge and tunnel crossings. Click here for details.

MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast insisted that the potential hikes are in the interest of providing safe and reliable service for their ridership.

“First of all, we’re giving them safe and reliable service,” he said. “We are actually providing expanded services in these next two years.

The MTA said this is will be the smallest increase in seven years, CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported.

“The MTA continues to keep its promise to make sure that fare and toll increases, while necessary to keep our system running, remain as low and possible and that they are done in as equitable a way as possible,” added Prendergast. “Fare and toll revenue cover just 51 percent [of] the operating budget, which is why this modest increase is needed to ensure that subway, rail, bus and paratransit services continue operate safely and reliably and to fuel the region’s economic and financial growth.”

As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, the ticket price hike would be the sixth since 2008. If passed, riders will pay more despite the MTA announcing it will close out the year with a 690 million dollar surplus.

The MTA says it plans to use the money to offset potential deficits in future years and make new investments in service.

 

 

Some riders are hoping for something different in exchange for heftier ticket prices. “Do I get a glass of wine and cheese while I’m on the train?” asked Ronkonoma commuter Todd Goodman.

While others say they are at the mercy of the MTA.

“We have to pay because we have no choice,” one said.

Public hearings on the two options are expected to be held before the full MTA board vote next month.

One option raises the base fare to $3 with a 16 percent bonus, the other would keep the base fare at $2.75 and cut the bonus to 5 percent. Unlimited card holders would pay $4.50 more. Seven day passes will rise a dollar to $32.  

David Jones, a new board member appointed by the mayor, wants to see lower income New Yorkers get a break.

“$116 for a 30 day pass is beyond the means of many, if not most, individuals who are really low income,” Jones said. He is calling on the city to pay for a program offering half-price MetroCards to New Yorkers living below the poverty line, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.

The public hearings will be held on the following dates and locations:

Monday, December 5:
Queens – The Milton G. Bassin Performing Arts Center at York College, Main Stage Theater, 94-20 Guy R. Brewer Blvd, Jamaica, NY. Registration period is open from 4 to 8 p.m. Hearing begins at 5 p.m.
By Subway: E, J, Z to Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer
By Bus: Q20A, Q44-LTD, Q111, Q112, Q114-LTD

Tuesday, December 6:
Staten Island – College of Staten Island, Center for the Arts at College of Staten Island, The Williamson Theater Bldg 1P, 2800 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island, NY. Registration period is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Hearing begins at 6 p.m.
By Bus: From St George Ferry Terminal take the S62 or S92-LTD bus
From Brooklyn: Take the S93-LTD to College of Staten Island. Or take the S53 and transfer to the S62 or S92-LTD at Victory Blvd.

Wednesday, December 7:
Long Island – Hilton Long Island/Huntington, Salon C & D, 598 Broad Hollow Road, Melville, NY. Registration period is open from 4 to 8 p.m. Hearing begins at 5 p.m.
By LIRR: Nearest station is Farmingdale, or take LIRR to Amityville Station, then take the S1 bus north, or take LIRR to Huntington Station, take the S1 bus south.

Thursday, December 8:
Manhattan – Baruch College, Baruch Performing Arts Center, Mason Hall, 17 Lexington Avenue at 23rd Street, New York, NY.
Registration period is open from 4 to 8 p.m. Hearing begins at 5 p.m.
By Subway: 6 to 23 St, rw to 23 St
By Bus: M23, M101-LTD, M102, M103
Bus Transfers: M1, M2, M3 (all northbound bus routes to Baruch College)

Tuesday, December 13:
Bronx – Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture, Main Theater, 450 Grand Concourse at 149th Street, Bronx, NY
Registration period is open from 4 to 8 p.m. Hearing begins at 5 p.m.
By Subway: 245 to 149 Street-Grand Concourse
By Bus: Bx1, Bx1-LTD, Bx13, Bx19

Thursday, December 15:
West of Hudson – Crowne Plaza Suffern, Montebello Ballroom, 3 Executive Blvd, Suffern, NY. Registration period is open from 4 to 8 p.m. Hearing begins at 5 p.m.
By Metro-North: from Hoboken Terminal New Jersey to Suffern Station where taxi service is available

Monday, December 19:
Brooklyn – Walt Whitman Theater at Brooklyn College, 2900 Campus Road (near the junction of Nostrand Avenue and Avenue H), Brooklyn, NY. Registration period is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Hearing begins at 6 p.m.
By Subway: 25 to Flatbush Av-Brooklyn College
By Bus: B6, B11, B41, B41-LTD, B44, B44 SBS, B103, Q35

Tuesday, December 20:
Westchester – New York Power Authority, Jaguar Room, 123 Main Street (Enter on Hamilton Ave.), White Plains, NY. Registration period is open from 4 to 8 p.m. Hearing begins at 5 p.m.
By Metro-North: to White Plains Station

If passed, the new prices would take effect in March.