MTA may need higher fare hikes, report says

February 16, 2010 3:35:00 PM PST
We already know the price of a MetroCard by law is going up next year, at least 8 percent. Now a think tank in a new report claims the MTA will need more -- a lot more: a 15 percent hike.

That would boost the basic fare from $2.25 to $2.50 or maybe $2.75.

A monthly metro-card would go from $89 to $102.

"I wouldn't have a choice, because I have to take my daughter to school, but it's hard," commuter Terrell Field said.

"It's kind of expensive now. If it's hard for people now, can you image at a hundred-and-two?" wondered Fenando de Jesus.

The MTA is not commenting on today's report, but it's not far-fetched.

One idea in today's report that might prevent such a big fare hike is something we've heard about before, and the mayor loves it. The idea is congestion pricing.

That idea would charge cars eight dollars a piece for the privilege of driving in Manhattan. The extra money would go to the MTA.

At the 145th Street Bridge, we did not find a lot of support.

"That's crazy man! That don't make no kind of sense. I don't understand that. We ain't got no money now," one driver said.

"This is a problem that the state government has to address," Mayor Bloomberg said on Tuesday.

The mayor pushed for congestion pricing two years ago. State lawmakers said no way, but the author of today's report says it's time to revisit things.

"I think it has a chance because the alternative is such a terrible alternative," John Petro of the Drum Major Institute said.

The alternative is that set of huge fare hikes coupled with deep cuts. As long Albany dithers, the possibility becomes all the more likely.