Transit advocates and state officials have been calling on the MTA to cut back on the size of fare and toll increases planned for every other year. Wednesday, the MTA delivered a touch of good news, saying while fares and tolls will still go up, they won't go up as much as they have in the recent past. NY1 Transit Reporter Jose Martinez filed the following report.
There's no nice way of putting it, straphangers are going to pay more at the turnstile.
"Two fifty is enough,” a rider said on Wednesday.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Wednesday announced cost-containment measures in its 2014 budget will cut upcoming fare and toll hikes almost in half.
"We're now reducing our projection of the biennial fare and toll increases in 2015 and 2017, from the 7-and-a-half percent that we had in July, down to 4 percent now in the November plan,” said MTA Chief Financial Officer Robert Foran.
Fares went up in March, but the MTA's improving financial fortunes allowed the agency to give riders a small break by limiting how much more they'll pay in a year and a half. The exact amount has yet to be determined.
"We were receiving feedback from people, from fare and toll increase hearings, that you know, there's a point at which there would be a breaking point,” said MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast.
Some riders said they're already there, even with a slightly-less-painful increase on the way.
"Even though it's gonna be half of the projected fare, I still feel it's going to be a burden on most New Yorkers,” said a second rider.
"I think it's too much, you know. Everybody can't afford it,” said a third rider.
Others say they can live with it.
"Fares will go up. But mass transit is still a pretty good deal in New York City compared to a lot of places that I've been,” said a fourth rider.
"I'm not going to stop riding the subway because their prices are going up. You have to get to where you have to go,” said another.
The new projections depend on the MTA sticking to its plan to give its workers no raises over three years without concessions from the union, drawing criticism from Local 100 chief John Samuelsen.
"They're tossing a few crumbs at the public and expect to be patted on the back. It's pretty outrageous. Both the workers and the riders deserve better,” said Samuelsen.
The plan holds budget growth at less than two percent and allows for more than $40 million to be used for subway and bus line improvements.
There's still time to air some gripes.
As it does before every fare increase, the MTA will give riders the chance to tell the agency what they think of paying more per ride at a series of public hearings before the increase takes effect in March 2015.