NYC commuters pay more after MTA hikes fares

December 31, 2010 3:52:06 AM PST
New York commuters are facing a double-whammy: a blizzard that paralyzed the transit system and fare increases that have left some riders fuming.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority fare hike for riding the city's subways, buses and commuter rails is increasing for the third time in three years. It comes just months after severe cuts to service. Tolls also went up at the MTA's bridges and tunnels, all part of attempts to close a huge budget gap.

The biggest increase, of almost 17 percent, is for the monthly unlimited Metrocards, adding $15 to the current price of $89. Other fare classes will also increase, although not as much. The $2.25 one-way subway and bus fare will stay the same except for single-ride tickets, which will rise to $2.50.

The new fares kicked in at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, even as plows crisscrossed the city, still working to remove snow that had slowed or stopped subway service for days and left nearly 50 public buses stuck on roads.

"I think it needs to stay where it is right now until they solve whatever problem they're having," Q train rider Pearline Williams said.

But MTA chairman Jay Walder said that won't happen.

"I think the fare hike is something that's been in the plans for six months," he said. "We've gone through process of consideration of public hearings. It has to go forward at this point."

Transit employees have been working around the clock to dig out trains and tracks since Sunday's blizzard, and while they've made progress, there's obviously more work to do.

All the more reason, says Q train rider Tina Weston, to give straphangers a break.

"It's frustrating that they couldn't even wait or have the decency to wait until after the 1st [of January]," she said. "But right now, at the height of all this mess and this disorganization, that, you know, we're being increased but we're not getting that the service we need."

For more information visit: MTA.info

Also, for those taking bridges and tunnels, MTA Media Liason Aaron Donovan said in a statement: "Motorists who are still using cash might want to consider the convenience of E-ZPass On the Go, which is a pre-paid pre-loaded E-ZPass that one can buy at a conveniences stores all around the region. People should visit www.ezpassonthego.com to find a store near them."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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