Rell Says No to MTA Hikes in Connecticut

The MTA today approved yet another round of fare hikes -- the third time in three years -- but Governor Rell said Connecticut will not support rate hikes.

The MTA voted on Thursday to approve fare increases on the monthly and weekly Metrocards and to lessen the discount on multiple ride cards -- with increases starting in 2011.

But Gov. M. Jodi Rell issued a statement saying that she would have to approve any rate increase in Connecticut.

"Connecticut will not support these proposed fare hikes and we will not allow the idea to pick up a head of steam,” Rell said. “Fare hikes are inconsistent with everything we have tried to accomplish in the public transportation arena and they would hurt Connecticut commuters.”

The proposal called for the monthly Metrocard to increase by 17 percent, shooting up the price from $89 to $104, making it the most expensive in the county. The weekly card will also be likely to increase from $27 to $29.

“Our goal was to try to increase revenue by 7.5 percent while keeping ridership at its existing levels and also not putting too much of a burden on our lower-income customers,” MTA spokesperson Aaron Donovan said.

The hikes are some of the steepest seen -- and hits unlimited riders the hardest.

Some board members at Thursday’s meeting objected.

“This fare plan hits our best customers with the heftiest fare hike,” said Andrew Albert.

Along with the fare hikes, other parts of the proposal include reducing the amount of bonus given on the $10 metrocard from 15 percent  to 8 percent, and a $1 surcharge for obtaining a new Metrocard.

“We’re hoping that this encourages New Yorkers to re-use their old metrocards, rather than repeatedly getting new ones,” said Donovan. He added that this proposal should save the MTA money on printing costs.

An earlier proposal to keep the price of the monthly card under $100 but to cap the amount of bus or subway rides at 90 was swiftly rejected. 

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