Proposed MTA Fare Hikes Criticized At Public Hearing

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The Metropolitan Transit Authority is looking to increase fares and tolls systemwide to close a $450 million budget shortfall. Photo Credit: File photo

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – After a certain point, fare hikes become a tax, Barry Adler told Metropolitan Transit Authority board members at a public hearing Thursday at the Westchester County Center on the MTA's proposed 2013 fare increases.

To close a $450 million shortfall, the MTA is considering a few different proposals that would increase fares and tolls systemwide beginning on or about March 1, 2013. The proposals on the table include fare hikes for the Metro-North train system that would affect Westchester commuters. 

Adler, for instance, would pay $11.25 for a one-way peak ticket from White Plains to Grand Central, up from $10.75.

If approved, this 7.14-percent hike would also apply to one-way peak tickets from North White Plains, Scarsdale, Hartsdale, Hastings, Dobbs Ferry, Ardsley and Irvington to Grand Central Station. A one-way off-peak ticket would go from $7.75 to $8.50, an increase of 9.68 percent. A monthly ticket would increase 8.73 percent, from $229 to $249.

The proposed increase would be even steeper for residents who commute from Valhalla, Mt. Pleasant, Hawthorne, Pleasantville, Chappaqua, Tarrytown, Ossining and Croton-on-Hudson. A one-way peak ticket from those communities to Grand Central would increase from $12 to $13. A one-way off-peak ticket would increase from $9 to $9.75. A monthly ticket would increase from $266 to $289.

For riders in Mt. Kisco, Bedford Hills, Katonah, Cortlandt, Goldens Bridge, Cortlandt and Peekskill, a one-way peak ticket to Grand Central Station would increase from $14.25 to $15. A one-way off peak ticket would increase from $10.75 to $11.75. A monthly ticket would increase from $315 to $343.

Tom Durkin of White Plains criticized the MTA’s $1 refill fare for MetroCards.

“There’s absolutely no place to refill in Westchester,” Durkin, 61, said. “The only way to do it is at the MetroCard Van, which only comes every four to five weeks.” Durkin pointed out that it didn’t arrive at all in October.

There are four proposals for MetroCard increases. Two target base fares, while another two target 30-day unlimited fares.

The first set would raise the base MetroCard fare and local bus cash fare from $2.25 to $2.50, and the 30-day unlimited passes from increase from $104 to either $112 or $109. Another two keep the base fares at $2.25, and focus increases on 30-day unlimited passes, raising it to either $125 or $119.

Adler asked at the meeting, "How do you justify that fare?" 

This was the sixth public hearing held on the fare increases. Two were rescheduled due to Hurricane Sandy. Thursday's public hearing was moved to the County Center from the Yonkers Public Library, which suffered flooding during the storm. 

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