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Unlimited-ride Metrocards to jump $23, if state doesn't bail out MTA


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Brace yourself for the C-note MetroCard.


The monthly MetroCard could jump from $81 to $104 next year if Albany fails to find funds to rescue the transit system, according to a city Independent Budget Office analysis.


"It's ridiculous," subway rider Nicole St. Bernard-James, 35, of Brooklyn, said of the sky-high charge. "That's crazy."


Carpenter William Hurd said he might stop riding the rails if the monthly pass rises by $23, or 28%, an annual increase of $276.


"I'd be better off driving at this point," said Hurd, who takes the Long Island Rail Road into the city, then switches to the subway.


The Straphangers Campaign advocacy group asked the IBO to review the cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority's financial plans and crunch the numbers.


The MTA has not yet specified new prices for the various fare payment options, which also include weekly and biweekly unlimited-ride MetroCards.


Without additional subsidies, the MTA has said it will be forced to balance its fiscal 2009 budget by increasing fare and toll revenue by 23%.


Reaching that target actually would require hikes of 28% to compensate for the expected dropoff in ridership caused by the higher costs, the IBO said in Tuesday's report.


The IBO analysis assumes across-the-board hikes of approximately 28% on all unlimited-ride MetroCards and the $2 base bus and subway fare.


Possible results forecast by the IBO in this scenario include the base fare rising to at least $2.50.


The Daily News has reported that the MTA usually doesn't apply flat-rate, across-the-board hikes and that the $2 base fare could be boosted by $1 to $3.


The base fare is mostly paid by bus riders still paying with coins. A $3 fare would encourage more riders to use discount-offering MetroCards, would reduce MTA labor costs and would lessen the size of any hikes on unlimited-ride MetroCards.


If the MTA wanted to avoid the service cuts, the monthly MetroCard could go up to $107, the IBO said.


A panel chaired by former MTA boss Richard Ravitch urges tolling East River and Harlem River bridges and charging employers a payroll tax to generate $2.5 billion a year.


The MTA should use some of the new revenues to scale back next year's fare and toll hikes to 8% and cancel service cuts, the commission recommended.


In a statement, the MTA called for endorsing the commission's proposals.




December 9th 2008

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It says $107 to avoid service cuts though. I mean, if we're already paying so much, the extra 3 dollars to keep service the way it is, is a small price to pay. $107 with good service or normal service strongly outweighs $104 with the limited service that was proposed.

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It's really ludicrous. It's not going to help in the long run. With petrol prices down by over 50% (since the summer) there are people who are considering driving again. Now the people will drive their cars again, it will only worsen the pollution and clog streets up again. With that, there is less patronage for the MTA. And the money the MTA needs comes from farebox revenue. If that starts to go down, the MTA cannot hike fares up to avoid a DEFICIT OF ASTRONOMICAL NUMBERS. It's going to make it worse.

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