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N.Y. transit riders take another hit

Washington's Metro riders aren't alone in enduring the pain of fare increases. Things are worse in the Big Apple, where transit officials have eliminated kiosks and subway lines to cover a huge budget deficit. On Thursday New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority went further and raised monthly unlimited bus and subway fares and increased commuter rail ticket prices as part of a plan to raise $400 million next year amid state funding cuts.

The MTA, whose 8.5 million weekday riders make it the busiest U.S. mass-transit system (Washington has the second-busiest subway), increased the unlimited MetroCard price to $104 from $89 and the seven-day unlimited card to $29 from $27.

The increases will take effect Jan. 1, the agency said at a board meeting today. They are part of an initiative approved by the governor and legislature last year aimed at raising revenue by 7.5 percent next year.

"You either raise the fare or cut service a whole lot more," said Mark Page, New York City's budget director. "A 7.5 percent increase represents the best compromise."

The MTA's $12 billion budget has suffered because a payroll tax in New York City and seven other counties that was adopted as part of a 2009 bailout hasn't met projections. The state also cut more than $140 million in MTA aid to help close its own $9.2 billion budget gap, leaving the agency with a $900 million deficit (Metro faced a $190 million deficit for the current fiscal year).

The MTA has cut service, trimmed its workforce and reduced overtime. It raised fares for single rides on buses and subways to $2.25 from $2 last year.

The agency will vote on raising tolls on major bridges to as much as $7 from $5.50 later this month. The one-way toll for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge between Staten Island and Brooklyn may rise to $14 from $11 for drivers paying cash.

-- Bloomberg

From the Post's archives:
Obstacles embedded in SmarTrip plan

Riders question equity of fare hikes

Metrorail delays morning surcharge

Metro approves broad fare increase

By Michael Bolden  | October 7, 2010; 1:07 PM ET
Categories:  Metro, Transit, Transportation Politics  
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Comments

An unlimited Metrocard for $104? Wow. That would sell out in no time in DC.

Posted by: rnorwood01 | October 7, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

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