11:34 am Oct. 15, 2012
Today, the M.T.A. released four proposals for yet another fare hike, this one scheduled to go into effect this coming March.
The authority is expected to choose one of the four proposals in December. There will be public hearings between now and then.
In two of the proposals, the base fare would rise from $2.25 to $2.50, while in the other two it would remain as it is now, at $2.25.
In all of the proposals, the 30-day MetroCard, which now costs $104, would become more expensive, with one proposal raising the price to $109, and another raising it to as much as $125.
The existing seven-percent bonus for MetroCard purchases of more than $10 would remain in one scenario, decrease to five percent in another and disappear altogether in two others.
Today, at the press conference announcing the fare hike proposals, Lhota said he was inclined to maintain at least some MetroCard bonus.
Here's a chart laying out the four proposals:
Most Metro-North and Long Island Railroad ticket prices would increase between 8.19 and 9.31 percent.
Tolls on M.T.A. bridges and tunnels would also go up. (See the full proposal here).
“Costs that the MTA does not exercise control over, namely those for debt service, pensions, energy, paratransit, and employee and retiree health care, continue to increase beyond the rate of inflation,” said Joe Lhota, the M.T.A. chairman, in a statement. “We are grappling with long-term measures to reduce these frustrating and difficult non-discretionary expenses, but today, they are the drivers of the need for a fare and toll increase.”
Gene Russianoff, senior attorney at NYPIRG's Straphangers Campaign, said that the 30-day MetroCard proposals would cost New Yorkers between $60 and $252 more per year, and that those who pay the base fare would fork over between $16 and $208 more per year.
"Enough already!" said Russianoff, in a statement. "If there's a fare hike in 2013, this will be the fourth subway, bus and commuter rail fare increase in five years."
Russianoff said one way to lessen the burden on riders would be to implement Sam Schwartz's new congestion pricing scheme.
Other advocates used the occasion to demand goverment support for the financially beleaguered transit authority.
“The 7.5 million New Yorkers who use the bus and subway every day need Governor Cuomo to stop this fare hike,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, in a statement. “While New Yorkers have suffered fare hike after fare hike, our State government raided hundreds of millions of dollars in transit funds. Governor Cuomo can put a stop to this by increasing the State’s investment in public transit. Treating our MetroCards like a credit card is no way for the State to run a railroad.”
Transportation Alternatives has launched a petition drive to that effect. It now has more than 15,000 signatures.
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