Riders gear up for potential MTA fare increases

THE COURIER/photo by Maggie Hayes

MTA fares may be going up, and Queens residents are pretty down about it.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” said Vena G., who uses the bus frequently to travel the borough looking for a job.

The proposal set by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) will be unveiled next month, and many changes could be on the horizon.

Bus and subway fares could potentially increase to $2.50, up from the current $2.25, while also eliminating the seven percent bonus for buying $10 or more on a MetroCard. Unlimited MetroCards could also rise by five percent, sending a seven-day MetroCard from $29 to $30, and a monthly pass from $104 to $109.

This would be the fourth MTA fare increase in five years.

“For me, it’s definitely going to limit my ability to go look for a job,” said Vena, a certified pharmacy technician who has been out of work for two months.

“I don’t understand why [the MTA is] doing this. It’s not fair,” she said.

As noted by the New York City Straphangers Campaign, the biggest losers in this deal would be those buying discounted pay-per-ride MetroCards. Their fare would go from $2.10 to $2.50-a-ride, translating into an extra $200 a year.

The Straphangers “urge transit riders to speak up when the MTA holds fare increase hearings.”

The MTA would not comment on the potential fare hikes, aside from relaying that there will be public hearings in November, and the board will vote on a decision in December. If approved, the hikes are scheduled to be in place by March of next year.

“They try to raise it just like that, and I think it’s bad management,” said one elderly man waiting for the Q13 line.

“It will absolutely affect my day. I don’t have a car, and in this city, public transportation is safer. But if I’m spending more money on the bus, I’m spending less money on things I really need, less money on people who really need it,” he said.

Along with raising fares for commuter trains, subways and buses, bridge and tunnel tolls around the city could potentially see a 15 percent increase. This would raise bridge tolls such as the Verrazano to $15, and the Queens-Midtown Tunnel to $7.50.

“New sources of revenue are needed to provide decent service at an affordable level, such as placing tolls on the free . . . bridges,” said the Straphangers Campaign in a statement.

“They already have a monopoly, what’s the point? Now they’re just taking advantage,” said Vena.

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