MTA holds heated public hearing on fare hike

September 14, 2010 3:18:20 AM PDT
Hold on to your wallets - the MTA wants to raise fares again.

The first public hearing on the agency's proposal to raise fares 7.5 percent got quite a reaction Monday night.

It's the third rate hike in as many years.

Considering that the hikes would affect millions of New Yorkers, a pretty small crowd turned out Monday night. But that crowd was fired up. Many said the turnout was low because the public has come to feel powerless against the board. But those who did speak poured their hearts out and begged the MTA to stop picking their pockets.

"Please don't make us move to shelters with the roaches and the rats," said one rider.

They tried serenading and shaming the board.

"Look at you, it's a disgrace," subway rider Anita Romm said. "You don't ride the system. You ride in limousines and you laugh at us."

Some even resorted to screaming at the board.

"You! You should learn how to travel in the subway and see what we go through all the time!" Gavrielle Gemma said. "And see that all of this, that you are taking away from us is a necessity!"

Passions were running high as rider after rider rallied against the MTA's proposed hike. Transit officials are now considering a number of proposals. The popular monthly unlimited pass is currently $89 a month, but could jump to as much as $130 a month. They are considering raising the price to $99 a month with a 90-trip cap.

It's the same with the weekly pass, which currently costs $27 a week and could jump to $38 a week. Or it could increase to $28 with a 22-trip cap.

"We have to have the resources to be able to run the system safely and effectively," MTA chairman Jay Walder said. "I think that's most important for the 5 million people a day who ride the subway, the 2.5 million people who ride the bus system."

"It is unfair riders are being asked to pay more for less," another rider said.

The MTA is even looking at discarded MetroCards as a source of income. They are considering charging an extra dollar for every new MetroCard purchased.

Eight more public hearings are scheduled for later this month. The MTA board will vote on the fare hikes in October.

CLICK HERE for a schedule and details regarding the hearings.