MTA looking to raise fares again

If approved, plan will go in effect July 2009
July 23, 2008 6:59:55 AM PDT
Just months after straphangers were hit with a fare hike, the MTA is considering another increase, as subway delays spike as well.In addition to subways and buses, a price hike would affect the Long Island Railroad and Metro-North, as well as bridges and tunnels.

After years of surpluses, the MTA is being hit by the same factors that are belting the rest of the economy:

  • Higher fuel costs, and a sagging real estate market, which translates into smaller tax revenues.
  • The MTA says it needs to close a budget gap of nearly $900-million.

    According to reports on the MTA's new budget plan, the agency wants to boost revenue on fares and tolls by 8 percent.

    The last increase hit riders and drivers this past March, and another wasn't expected until early 2010. If the MTA board approves the new plan, the hike would go into effect next July.

    The proposal also calls for an extra $300-million from the city and state.

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he would not support a fare increase unless the MTA can demonstrate it's working to tighten its own belt. "Anybody that tells you they've got a $10 billion budget and they can't find a way to cut 5 percent, that's just poor management," said Bloomberg.

    Looking further ahead, the budget focuses on a commission created by Governor Paterson to recommend long term solutions for the MTA's money problems.

    That report is due in November.

    All this comes as a new report by the MTA found that subway delays are up 24 percent since last year.

    The MTA says delays are caused by track work, customers holding doors, sick passengers, and signal trouble.

    The agency says it plans to collect more detailed data to investigate why delays are getting worse.

    STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Kemberly Richardson
    WEB PRODUCED BY: Lakisha Bostick