2012-11-21 / Features

Fare Hikes Discussed At MTA Public Hearing

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO


MTA board of directors and its chairman, Joseph Lhota. MTA board of directors and its chairman, Joseph Lhota. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) proposed fare hike, set to begin January 2013, was the subject of a public hearing held at the Sheraton LaGuardia East in Flushing on November 15. If approved, the increase would be the fourth in five years for New York transit riders.

Here are summaries of the proposals as outlined by the MTA:

•Proposal 1A: Increase the base fare to $2.50, raise the 30-day MetroCard to $112 and keep the seven percent bonus on a $10 MetroCard purchase.

•Proposal 1B: Increase the base fare to $2.50, raise the 30-day MetroCard to $109 and eliminate the MetroCard bonus.

•Proposal 2A: Hold the base fare at $2.25, raise the 30-day MetroCard to $125 and reduce the MetroCard bonus to five percent on a $10 purchase.

•Proposal 2B: Hold the base fare at $2.25, raise the 30-day MetroCard to $119 and eliminate the MetroCard bonus entirely.

In addition, the MTA is proposing to charge a $1.00 fee for each new MetroCard bought. Reloading a MetroCard will be without cost.

“A fare increase would be a hard, heavy burden,” said a representative of the Straphangers Campaign at the public hearing. Comments posted on the Straphangers Campaign Web site were read by the representative to the MTA board of directors and its chairman, Joseph Lhota.

“Please make the fare reasonable for the many New Yorkers struggling to survive in these hard economic times,” said another speaker at the hearing.

Lhota, appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in January, announced the fare hikes in October. “Costs that the MTA does not exercise control over, namely those for debt service, pensions, energy, para-transit, and employee and retiree health care continue to increase beyond the rate of inflation,” he said at the time.

“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,” Lhota added.

Mike Sinansky, vice chair of the New York City Transit Riders Council, a member of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, spoke in opposition to the fare hikes.

“New York City subway riders pay the highest share of operating costs in the United States,” said Sinansky.

New York City riders pay 76.6 percent of MTA operating expenses through fares, as opposed to 52 percent by riders in Chicago, 51.3 percent in Boston and 35.8 percent in Atlanta according to the Federal Transit Administration.

“Riders should share the responsibility but should pay only their fair share,” said Sinansky.

Subway and bus fares were last raised at the end of 2010.

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