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MTA Plan May Hit Tourists and Motorists More Heavily

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tourists and motorists could see the bulk of fare increases if a proposed plan gaining traction with MTA board members goes through later this year.

The proposal would increase the base fare on subway and buses by 25 cents, while motorists would see an increase on MTA bridges and tunnels by $1, or 50 cents with an E-ZPass.

That disparity between the fare increases seems follow an underlying philosophy of the MTA when it comes to funding mass transit, says Pete Donohue who wrote about the proposed fare and toll hikes for the New York Daily News.

“You're driving in your own vehicle and can you imagine how many vehicles would be out there on the road if it wasn't for people who were riding the subway,” Donohue said on the Brian Lehrer Show Tuesday. “I mean, the city would be a total parking lot.”

The plan would also raise the cost of a 30-day Unlimited Metrocard from $104 to $112.

Donohue says by not going with a proposal that would raise the 30-day fare to $125, it appears board members might be trying to insulate the transit system's most frequent users from the steepest increases.

“Very few people actually pay $2.50 and some transit officials would make the argument that a good percentage of those are tourists, so in a sense you do have kind of a higher fare for tourism,” Donohue said.

Donohue says only about 13 percent of subway rides are paid for with the base fare.

MTA Chairman Joe Lhota is expected to recommend a fare hike plan later this week. The MTA board will take up the proposal before the end of year and it would go into effect in March.

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