don't know how much money the Metropolitan Transportation
Authority has and I don't know how much they need, but I
know how much money I don't have, so if someone, anyone
can please tell the MTA, I ran out of money two months ago.
Since 2003 the MTA has started a move that will soon become
the traditional way people see transportation fare prices.
The fare increase of just one year and some months ago affected
single rides as well as unlimited ride cost. For the past
few months there have been discussions about raising the
price again. The plan has been worked and reworked by the
MTA and the most current plan was officially approved by
the MTA's Board of Directors on Thursday December 16th.
This most recent hike will not affect the $2 cost for the
single ride, so for at least another two years that will
remain the same. The price of the unlimited ride metrocards
were not as lucky. The monthly fare will increase from $70
to $76. The 7-day unlimited ride metrocards will increase
from $21 to $24. Express bus fare will go from $4 to $5.
7-day express bus plus metrocard will go from $33 to $41.
Those changes and increases will all take place February
27, 2005. Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road riders will
also be affected, the average increase will be 5%. That
will be effective March 1, 2005.
Riders of mass transit will not be the only ones affected.
Tolls for bridges and tunnels will also be increasing because
of this approval. The toll for the Verrazano bridge is going
from $8 to $9. The toll for the Midtown Tunnel, Battery
Tunnel, Triborough Bridge, Throgs Neck Bridge and the Whitestone
Bridge will all be going from $4 to $4.50. Finally the increase
for the Henry Hudson Bridge, marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial
Bridge, and Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge will be going
form $2 to $2.25. Those changes will be effective March
13, 2005. There will also be a new monthly $1 E-Z Pass account
fee effective July 1, 2005.
To add to all the fare increases a total of 164 booths will
be closed but the 600 or so employees/clerks who currently
hold those positions will remain on the job as customer
service agents on platforms. It appears to be going from
bad to worse for everyone except for the MTA. Regardless
of the excuses, with 164 booths closed it's only a matter
of time before employees will be getting cut. They already
closed 62 part time booths last year. All these increases
will tear away at the consumers pockets every month.
With this hike given the thumbs up it comes as no surprise
that they are already plannign another hike for 2007. Apparently
they are expecting somewhere upwards of a $606 million deficit
in 2006 so they will have to make up for it in 2007 somehow.
No word yet on what will be increased but don't be surprised
when the single rides hit $4, a fun pass is $10, the weekly
pass is $30, and a monthly pass is $100. The MTA has already
announced that they are expecting nearly $1 Billion in deficits
for 2008 so there will surely be another hike in 2009 also.
I just want to know why anyone isn't saying anything. The
MTA will be raising fares until we are blue in the face
before anyone throws their hands in the air to protest.
The only protest I've heard or seen was ny the NYPIRG Straphangers
Campaign. They started a block-the-fare-hike campaign where
they handed out thousands of leaflets to transit riders
but that didn't really spark much of a buzz. They were supposed
to protest at the Governors office but I didn't see anything
on the news. It's funny, some basketball players get in
a fight, and some baseball players make a trade and it's
FRONT PAGE big and bold. The fare increases and it's on
page 5. HMM, Guess we better dig deep into our pockets because
we're in for a long couple of years.