MTA to Unveil Painful Plan for Fare Hikes, Toll Increases

From unlimited MetroCards to surcharges, the MTA looks for every last penny from riders

Traveling into New York could soon be more expensive.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is proposing fare increases of more than 16 percent on monthly subway and bus passes and 9 percent increases on suburban trains running between the city and Connecticut and Long Island.

The $2.25 single ride for subways and buses is not expected to change.  All the new fare increases will be laid out on Wednesday at a budget meeting outlining the MTA's fiscal strategy for the next four years.

The fare changes-- coming less than two years after a previous hike -- wouldn't take effect until January.

The agency that runs the nation's largest mass transit system is trying to close an $800 million budget shortage this year, projected to reach $2.5 billion over the next four years.  The MTA has lost hundreds of millions in expected revenues since last fall, largely because of lower tax revenues and subsidies, officials said.

The agency is considering putting a limit on its now-unlimited monthly passes. The passes would jump from $89 to at least $99 with a 90-ride limit or a $104 unlimited pass.

Other ideas include freezing the pay of transit workers for two years unless they agree to work rule changes or other concessions covering the cost of raises.

Also on the table: Demanding Nassau County and/or New York State come up with $40 million more to keep Long Island buses running, Newsday reports.

This could strand many of the 100,000-plus people on Long Island that take buses, Newsday reports.

The hikes would raise fare and toll revenues by 7.5%, a level agreed upon by the MTA, Gov. Paterson and the state Legislature in negotiations over state funding last year.

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Copyright AP - Associated Press
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