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Latest fare hike for MTA to kick in over the weekend

By Philip Newman

The cost of your ride is going up as of this weekend.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says the transit hike will raise $450 million in each of two years for the perpetually cash-strapped agency.

The hikes, the fourth in five years, were approved by the MTA board Dec. 19 after a series of public hearings in every borough and other areas served by the MTA.

The commuter railroads Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road will begin charging the new fares Friday for monthly, one-way and round-trip ticket holders. For those using weekly tickets, new fares take effect Saturday.

On average, most commuter rail tickets will go up between 8.2 percent and 9.3 percent, depending on ticket and distance. The discounted City Ticket for one-way weekend travel within New York City will go up to $4 from $3.75 starting Saturday.

The base fare for subways, local buses, Staten Island Railroad and Access-A-Ride rises to $2.50 from $2.25; the base fare for express buses goes to $6 from $5.50; and the pay-per-ride bonus discount will be reduced to 5 percent from 7 percent but will now be available for adding as little as $5 onto a MetroCard, down from $10 previously. A single-ride ticket bought from MetroCard vending machines rises to $2.75 from $2.50.

The $30-day unlimited MetroCard goes to $112 from $104. The seven-day unlimited ride MetroCard will cost $30, up from $29. The seven-day express bus plus MetroCard will cost $55, up from $50.

Unlimited ride MetroCards purchased March 2 or earlier must be activated by March 10 to get the full value. Those activated after that date will allow travel through April 9 for 30-day cards and March 17 for seven-day cards. Any remaining time will be refunded on a pro-rated basis.

A $1 fee will be charged for each new MetroCard purchased at a MetroCard vending machine or station booth.

Higher toll rates on the MTA’s seven bridges and two tunnels will take effect at 2 a.m. Sunday. At most bridges and tunnels, tolls are going up to $5.33 from $4.80 for E-ZPass users and to $7.50 from $6.50 for cash motorists.

For many years, the last Wednesday of every month was set aside for MTA board meetings. Not so on Feb. 27, since the MTA voted to reduce the number of meetings from 12 to eight at the recommendation of former MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota, who announced at the Dec. 19 meeting that he was resigning to run for mayor.

More details on the fare increase are available online at mta.info.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

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