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Mayor Bloomberg OKs MTA fare hike


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Mayor Bloomberg OKs MTA fare hike

BY PETE DONOHUE

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Tuesday, December 11th 2007, 4:00 AM

 

[float=right]amd_2train_2.jpg

Under the fiscal plan, the $2 base subway-

bus fare would remain unchanged for two

years. Unlimited-ride weekly MetroCards

would go from $24 to $25, and the monthly

pass would go from $76 to $81.

[/float]Mayor Bloomberg backed MTA fare and toll hikes Monday from the other side of the planet - disappointing those at home who hoped he'd save the fare.

 

Bloomberg, who was in Beijing and heading to a global warming conference, issued a statement saying the $360 million in hikes are necessary to maintain subway, bus and commuter train service in the face of rising costs and demand for service.

 

"This was something we couldn't support until we'd done everything possible to lower operating expenses and to ensure efficiencies," the mayor said. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board will vote on the hikes Dec. 19.

 

Critics, many of whom supported the Daily News' "Halt the Hike" campaign - which helped save the $2 base fare - called the proposed hikes a crushing blow to working men and women who take mass transit every day.

 

Dan Cantor, executive director of the Working Families Party, said "the governor [has] made clear that his 'no new taxes' pledge applies to wealthy New Yorkers, but not to the 7 million overwhelmingly working-class straphangers who use mass transit. This is a tax increase on working families, pure and simple."

 

In defending the hikes, Bloomberg said the MTA has agreed not to begin spending $30 million set aside to increase service, including more frequent subways and buses, until officials see what its financial situation is after the first quarter of 2008.

 

The mayor also said he's satisfied the MTA is doing its part by working to be more efficient.

 

Gov. Spitzer, who actively sought the mayor's support, said the state - facing a $4.3 billion deficit - couldn't come to the rescue of all riders.

 

"We would all love to save the fare," Spitzer said. "We would all wish to find that pot of gold."

 

Bloomberg controls a key bloc of four of the 14 votes held by MTA board members.

 

Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester), a leader in the anti-hike movement, insisted the battle isn't over.

 

"The Spitzer-Bloomberg fare increase is not an accomplished fact. We can reverse it," Brodsky said. "There is the political will to do that in the legislative bodies of the state and city."

 

Scores of state and city legislators requested a delay in any hikes so they could pursue increased state funding for mass transit in state budget deliberations next year.

 

Some ardent fare-hike foes saw nothing but gloom.

 

"I don't see how we stop it at this point," state Sen. Eric Schneiderman (D-Manhattan, Bronx) said.

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Again I will put things in perspective. The subway and bus riders will not see a fare hike, excepts those who will buy the unlimited passes. They still get a bargain, as those cards still would not reflect $2 every-time they use it, if they use it for more than just going back and forth to work.

 

The poor this fare hike would not hurt as the poor usually ride on MTA local buses, and subways. The poor usually do not ride MNRR, LIRR, or use the bridges and tunnels, as the first two price the poor (aka undesirables) off, and the latter...... well you have to afford to buy a car to pay tolls.

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It's really not going to affect me that much. Depending on the month, I either buy a pay-per-ride or a monthly. I spend $4 each day ($2 each way), so if there are 18 days in the month (or less) that I have classes, I'll use a pay-per-ride (since 18x4=72). If there are 19 or more days in the month that I have classes, I'll use a monthly.

 

So now, with the hike, I'll do the same - just if there are 20 or fewer, I'll get a pay-per-ride, and if there are 21 or more, I'll get a monthly.

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