Updated 10/11/2012 12:23 AM
Citizens Budget Commission Says MTA Riders Should Pay More
As the MTA prepares to raise subway and bus fares once again, a fiscal watchdog group says riders should pay even more than what the agency is expected to propose. NY1's Tina Redwine filed the following report.
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Much to many riders' surprise, a new report by the Citizens Budget Commission says the subway and bus fare is a bargain.
"It's a great deal because you're paying less than half the cost of the ride and what you are paying has gone up much less than virtually everything else that you buy every day," said Charles Brecher of the Citizens Budget Commission.
The CBC said the average fare after discounts and free transfers is $1.63.
The MTA will announce several fare hike options next week. The CBC says whatever they are won't be enough, that the riding public should shoulder more of the burden.
Riders say no way.
"Seems crazy to me," said one rider. "It's like another tax."
"My pay is not enough," said a second. "It's just ridiculous."
Some rider advocates argue riders are already covering a higher percentage of the cost than is fair.
"It's the highest in the nation for any system that runs subway and buses," said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign. "Enough is enough."
But as you might imagine, the Straphangers Campaign agrees with the Citizens Budget Commission on raising tolls and fees on drivers.
Russianoff said some drivers has been getting a free ride for too long.
"Put tolls on the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges and lower the tolls on places like Throgs Neck, Bronx Whitestone and the RFK Bridge, where congestion is significantly less," he said.
But so-called "congestion pricing" failed to gain traction when Mayor Michael Bloomberg pushed for it. Why would it stand a better chance now?
"We're going to have to reason with the people in the legislature and eventually, sound arguments will prevail," Brecher said.