Trainspotter 0 Posted November 12, 2008 Share #1 Posted November 12, 2008 Straphangers could be slammed with a fare hike that jacks the cost of a ride to as much as $3 next year - unless there's a state bailout, a Daily News analysis reveals. "We could be looking at the mother of all fare hikes," said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign. "This whopping increase would likely be coupled with very serious service cuts. In plain English, it could be lots more out of your pocket for the joy of more crowding, longer waits and less reliable service." The $2 base fare is the MTA's most likely target because it hasn't climbed in five years, while unlimited-ride MetroCards have been boosted three times, most recently in March. At the time, critics howled that regular riders were being forced to dig deeper, while out-of-towners - who tend to pay per ride - were let off the hook. Melissa Garcia, 22, a college student from Washington Heights, shuddered at the thought of paying more to ride the subways. "The economy is in shambles," she said. "There are no jobs. The price of food is going up. Now, they want to hit us up with this? Please. It's horrendous." Metropolitan Transportation Authority CEO Elliot Sander said Monday the authority's budget crisis will force it to impose "Draconian" fare hikes and service cuts without an additional $800 million. Even after making cuts, the MTA will be short about $600 million, agency figures show. Filling that gap would require a 24% fare hike for MetroCards, train tickets and tolls - if the MTA applied the increase evenly across every category. The agency hasn't tended to do that in the past, however. Instead, the MTA is expected to take aim at the base fare for the biggest percentage increase - bumping it to $2.50 or even $3, a Daily News analysis shows. An MTA spokesman declined to comment on the figures. Already grappling with a huge state budget gap, Gov. Paterson formed a commission to find the MTA more money, such as adding tolls on the now free East River bridges or imposing more taxes. Recommendations are due next month. The MTA has to come up with a balanced fiscal 2009 budget by the end of the year. Even if the fare leaps to $3, most riders don't pay the full amount. The current average cost of a ride is about $1.35; the vast majority of riders get discounts, either by buying at least four rides at a time or using unlimited-ride MetroCards. Still, the possibility of a 50% hike in the base fare did not sit well with riders. "I'm on the borderline of middle class and poor," said Bryan Tate, 36, a mail carrier from Brooklyn. "You can't just keep taxing us, fare-hiking us, and asking us for more and more without eventually breaking us," Tate said. "It's not fair. You have these Wall Street executives throwing a party with [money they got in] a bailout and we're left holding the bag." BY PETE DONOHUE DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER November 12th 2008 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.