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Riders share tips to beat MTA fare hikes

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Riders share tips to beat MTA fare hikes

By Marlene Naanes

amNewYork Staff Writer

February 4, 2008

 

[float=right]35189416.jpg

Michelle Repiso

Terry Howard of Harlem takes advantage of the

free bus transfer (2 hours after purchase) given to

passengers who buy the $2 one way MetroCard.

With the anticipated fare hike Howard is trying to

transit cut costs in any way he can.[/float]Harlem resident Terry Howard takes the bus to watch basketball games at a friend's home several times a week and banks on the games ending within two hours - the time limit to use the transfer on the MetroCard - for a free ride back home on the A train.

 

"I know how to economize. I know how to make the system work for me," Howard said.

 

A well-timed free transfer is just one way frugal New Yorkers are looking to cut corners when the subway and bus fare hike takes effect on March 2. Others have calculated their expenses when the MetroCard bonus rides are slashed and the price of the monthly pass swells to $81 and are already planning how they can still save money while making the necessary commutes.

 

Shelly Diaz, an administrative assistant who is putting herself through college, uses her 30-day pass on weekdays and gives it to her 16-year-old son for weekend jaunts. The single mother of two puts the money she saves toward paying bills.

 

"It's the only way you can get by," she said. "Everybody lives paycheck to paycheck these days."

 

Malcolm King, a single father who works three jobs and puts himself through school, plans to take advantage of the new 14-day MetroCard for $47. King usually buys a 7-day pass, which will cost $25 starting in March, but with the new pass, he'll be able to save $3.

 

To set aside the extra $22 for the two-week pass, King said he's prepared to forgo his Dunkin' Donuts treats knowing that he'll end up saving a few dollars at the end.

 

"It's hard. The little people have to sacrifice and pinch pennies," King said.

 

William Henderson, executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, said there are already deals on fares that certain straphangers can cash in on, most notably half-priced fares for seniors and riders with disabilities. Riders need only to fill out an application or show certain forms of identification on buses to get the reduced fare.

 

"It can be a big money saver," Henderson said.

 

More money-saving tips

 

Free Transfers on the pay-per-ride MetroCard

Within two hours time, riders can get a free second trip by taking a subway one way and then the bus, or vice versa. Taking two buses on different routes most times also result in free transfers.

 

Employer-based discounts

Some employers offer TransitChek, a pre-tax payroll deduction that offers savings. An employee using a 30-day MetroCard pass can save 33 percent.

 

MetroCard deals

Businesses sometimes offer discounts. For example, from now until the end of March, the Milk Gallery in the Meatpacking District is giving out free $4 MetroCards.

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