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MTA fares hikes go into effect

Remember those fare hikes the MTA Board voted for in October? The increase to $2.50 will go into effect tomorrow, Dec. 30.

The news of the hike elicited angry responses from Queens residents when the MTA voted for the increase in October – just 18 months after the most recent rate increase.

“We pay enough already,” said Gail Rogofsky, 64, while waiting for a bus in Bayside. “The service is bad. Sometimes there are three of the same buses in a row and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
On Thursday, October 7, the MTA Board overwhelmingly voted to increase fares, which will go into effect on December 30, 2010, with the steepest hikes coming to riders who use the system frequently.

In May of 2009, the MTA had a budget gap of $900 million and legislators bailed out the agency to help put off draconian cuts and fare increases. However, they did pass 10 percent fare increases across the board, and the new fare hikes, which will affect both the Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road, are expected to yield a 7.5 percent increase in revenue.

The MTA also claims to have taken a series of internal cost-cutting actions this year that will contribute to more than $380 million worth of savings in 2010.

According to MTA Chairman and CEO Jay Walder, fare increases could have been much larger given the size of the budget shortfall for 2010 if other efforts had been unsuccessful.

“While we cannot avoid this increase, we have listened to the comments of hundreds of customers about how they use the MTA’s services and how dependent they are on it,” Walder said.

Still, straphangers were not too pleased.

One MTA customer who was waiting for the Q31 bus stated that he felt it was unfair for the MTA to keep raising fares in order to compensate for its budget crisis. “They’re making us pay for their mistakes,” he said.

At the October 7 meeting, the MTA Board decided to put off a decision on increases at tolls and bridges, although most believe those increases are on the horizon as well.

For a full listing of how the new fare hikes will affect your commute, log onto www.mta.info.

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