Metro-North Riders to Put in Two Cents on Fare Increases

If you commute from Connecticut on Metro-North trains, you'll have an opportunity on Wednesday to sound off on a plan that would boost the cost of tickets you buy by mail or online.

The Connecticut Rail Commuter Council is questioning whether revenue from a cost increase would simply be gobbled up by lost sales of 10-trip and other tickets affected by the plan, the Stamford Advocate reports. The council has asked the state Department of Transportation and Metro-North for details on the expected cost savings.

"I don't think riders are aware of the impact of the plan, and we'd like to encourage them to come out and speak their mind," Jim Cameron, chairman of the commuter advocacy group, told the Advocate. "We don't understand the rationale for it, and the point to emphasize is that it is really a fare increase."

The New Haven line is affected and proposals include reducing the time period during which one-way and round-trip tickets must be used to as few as 7 days, including the date of purchase, and reducing the time period during which all other non-commutation ticket types must be used to as few as three months including the date of purchase.

Another proposal is to reduce the discount to as little as 2 percent on Mail&Ride fares for joint Monthly Commutation/Monthly Unlimited Ride Tickets, eliminate or reduce the discount on other Mail&Ride fares and all WebTicket fares and to round up to nearest whole-dollar amount on Supplemental Step-up and Ride Extension fares.

The DOT and the MTA will hold two public hearings in the state this week.

The first is on Wednesday, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., at the Gen Re Auditorium at UConn's Stamford campus.

The second is on Thursday, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., on the fourth floor of Union Station in New Haven.

Connecticut last raised Metro-North fares by 5.5 percent in 2005 to help the the struggling Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

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