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MTA Committee Votes Yes on Fare Hikes, Board to Vote Wednesday

Monday, March 23, 2009

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An MTA Committee has said 'yes' to mass transit fare hikes. The unanimous vote by the Finance Committee is the first of two approvals needed before a single ride rises to $2.50. Board members say state lawmakers should step in with a rescue plan before the full board votes on Wednesday.

Allen Cappelli, a board member from Staten Island, says time is running out. 'There are 45 hours before this disaster goes into effect and I hope that something will sink in with both the Democrats and the Republicans,' says Cappelli.

Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger struck a conciliatory tone to reporters afterwards, saying he was optimistic that the state Senate would step in to prevent those fares from taking effect. 'They are going to make it happen, I believe, as soon as they can get together and figure out what they as a majority want to do it,' says Hemmerdinger. 'They will do it as soon as they can I'm sure they want to do it as quickly as we want them to do it.'

Commuters at Grand Central Station this afternoon generally didn't like hearing the latest news about train service. Manhattan resident Eileen Conway, 26, who takes the subway regularly, said it comes at the wrong time. 'A lot of people don't have the funds that they did even six months ago and the fact that they are working with less and having to pay more is incredible,' says Conway.

Metro-North riders would also see their fares go up. Cesar Rodriguez takes occasional trips down to Manhattan from his home near Beacon. But he doubts he will come as often if the off-peak fare goes up from $12 to $15 as approved today. 'It's like they don't want you to come down here,' says Rodriguez. 'As soon as you come down they want to hit you over the head right away.'

Governor Paterson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver have reached an agreement. But the Democratic majority of the state Senate has rejected the bridge tolls on the East River as a means of helping the MTA, while Republicans are resisting the payroll tax.

Governor Paterson says he doesn't want to delay the board vote, even as he continues negotiating with Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith. "All I can do it try to persuade Senator Smith and Senator Smith is trying to persuade me of a different point of view," says Paterson.

Smith opposes the current rescue plan, because it includes putting tolls on East and Harlem River bridges. A spokesman for Smith says talks with the MTA are continuing.

On Wednesday the full MTA board is expected to vote whether to increase fares to close a more than $1 billion budget gap. Staten Islander Debbie Di Domenico says she's disgusted because its getting more expensive but feels like service is going down. "This morning I waited over 40 minutes, then the bus driver was so slow and he was new he missed three stops," says Di Domenico. "I had to walk back about 15 blocks. Then I just got off a train that stunk so bad of urine that I just want to go and get a candle."

Mayor Bloomberg says raising fares is the best option, unless the Senate adopts tolls on bridges that are currently free. "The city’s four votes will go with the governor’s votes to raise fares so that we can continue to provide the services to the extent possible, and even at this level we're going to have to cut them back some," says Bloomberg.

In the current plan, monthly metrocards would go up to $103 and there would be similar increases for other fare media and for tickets on commuter rail roads. The fare hike would go into effect in early June.

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Comments [6]

Myra

Let's see: We're in a recession, billions of people are out of work, people are starving themselves and scrounging around for money to find work...in vain most times. Even living in the streets or going back to their country...if they have families to stay with!!!. The subway smell and rats are magnificent. The service cuts are always wonderful. I mean we just love to get where we're going late. When there's so-called construction somewhere, I don't see any...ever!!!. The conductors don't speak clearly. Trains are overcrowded like sardines and we can't understand, nor see what stop it is. Instead of you raising the fare....lower it! Your service sucks to begin with. I have much more to say, but won't fit here. You leave so much to be desired, but we're ignored and you're just greedy.

Mar. 26 2009 03:22 PM
Zoraida Durand

THIS IS MADNESS! EVERY TIME I TURN AROUND SOMETHING ELSE IS BEING RAISED. WE CANNOT STRETCH OUR DOLLARS ANY FURTHER. WE ARE FORCED TO HAVE TO PAY SINCE WE NEED TO GO TO WORK BUT IT IS TOTALLY UNFAIR! REDUCE ALL THESE FATCATS SALARIES AND WE WON'T HAVE AN MTA DEFICIT! STOP THE ABUSE ON THE HARD WORKING PEOPLE WHO ARE TRYING TO SURVIVE IN THIS ECONOMIC TURMOIL WE ARE FACING. STOP SUCKING US DRY.

Mar. 26 2009 03:18 PM
jennifer

My first reaction to this news of the fare hike is to plead to New Yorkers to follow the example of the French and protest like mad. We need a city wide strike. Riders need to organize and come together. We should be threatening a strike on May 31st and prepare for it now.

Mar. 25 2009 11:31 AM
lorraine

ARE YOU PEOPLE NUTS THE TRAIN FARE IS TO HIGH NOW. DOESN'T ANYBODY KNOW WE ARE IN A RECESSION.

Mar. 25 2009 09:35 AM
ena

Of course the MTA voted to raise the fare they don't know how to do anything else but pay for their foibles on the backs of the people. Instead of laying off three-quarters of their top heavy upper echelon executives with the high salaries and perks would save millions. These scalliwags always get away with robbery. Where is your voice Mr. Bloomberg, where are you for the working people who cannot afford this fare hike. Our rent is rising, food costs are out of sight, utilities too as well as other amenities. Why and how does the NYC government and the MTA always get away with this?

Mar. 24 2009 11:23 AM
Tobe

Senator M. Smith is doing the right thing. This is a political sweeze-ball the MTA, the mayor, and the rest of the same greedy lot are playing. They got their hands on Sen. Smith: if he gives into the MTA, he'll be blamed for letting the flood gate open on the bridge crossing tolls; if he holds out--which he should--he'll be blamed for the MTA fare increase. I say HOLD OUT Sen. Smith, we the People are not dumb, we know what is what.

Mar. 24 2009 08:07 AM

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