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MTA Chair Proposes Fare Hikes For Riders And Drivers

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TWC News: MTA Chair Proposes Fare Hikes For Riders And Drivers
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Metropolitan Transit Authority chair Joseph Lhota revealed his proposal for raising fares and increasing tolls Friday. NY1's Vivian Lee has the story.

In a letter to the board Friday, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chair Joseph Lhota laid out the specifics of his fare hike proposal.

Lhota says the plan will bring in an additional $450 million to the MTA.

Lhota's proposal includes raising the base fare of a per-ride MetroCard from $2.25 to $2.50.

"We get stuck in the tunnel have the time and so I get to work late. I lose income," one woman said. "Now I have to pay more to do that?"

He also recommends bumping the fee of 7-day passes from $29 to $30 and 30-day passes from $104 to $112.

The bonus on per-ride card purchases would be lowered from 7 percent to 5 percent under the plan, however the bonuses would kick in at $5 instead of $10.

Lhota proposed a plan that has been approved before but never implemented -- he wants to charge an additional $1 for each new MetroCard purchased.

It's designed to encourage riders to refill their MetroCards, which will save the MTA on MetroCard production and cleanup costs.

"I understand the MTA needs to meet its budget but it's very difficult for most people," one rider said.

Lhota also recommends changes to some bridges, tunnels and commuter rails.

He proposed the toll on the Verrazano bridge be raised from $9.60 to $10.66 for non-Staten Island EZ Pass users and to $15 for cash payments.

"Bottom line it's worth the money," one man said.

Staten Islanders would pay $6.36 with an EZ Pass for their first two crossings, but that toll drops to $6 for Islanders who cross at least three times a month.

Tolls at other major crossings would go from $4.80 for EZ Pass users to $5.33. Cash tolls would go up a dollar to $7.50.

Most LIRR and Metro North fares would be raised between 8.2 percent and 9.3 percent.

"Some people, their salaries stay the same," one woman said. "It's really hard, especially for my family."

The MTA board is expected to vote on the proposal Wednesday.

If passed, the fares will go into effect around the beginning of March.

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