Angry New Yorker

Friday, November 05, 2004
No surprise here. It's become the equivalent of a parlor trick in politics these days to announce an outrageous fee hike, and then slip in a much lower, but still sizable increase while those, not realizing the shell game being played before them, breath a sigh of relief. MTA, we're on to you, too. OPEN YOUR BOOKS!!!

MTA: Fare Hikes Likely Lower Than Expected

Just last week it looked like subway and bus fares were about to go through the roof, with the price of a monthly MetroCard going all the way to $84.

But Thursday, top MTA officials reversed course, saying that may not be necessary. With more tax revenue pouring in than expected, [ed. note - shocked! shocked! to find more tax revenue. My word!]the agency now appears likely to settle on a more moderate fare increase.

The cost of a monthly MetroCard would go up from $70 to just $76 - a sizable increase, but not as much as the $84 price tag the MTA was talking about last week.

The other big change is in express bus fares, which had been slated to go up by $2 each way. Now the MTA is recommending just a $1 increase, from $4 to $5.
{Just a $1 increase?!? Earth to NY1 -- that's a 25% increase. That ain't "just" in my book.]

Weekly MetroCards would still go from $21 to $24, as proposed earlier, and tolls on MTA bridges and tunnels would go from $4 to $4.50, or, on the smaller crossings, from $2 to $2.25.

The increased revenue - about $300 million - would also eliminate the need for layoffs. The MTA had previously threatened to lay off about 1,200 workers. [ed. note - threatened? I wish they'd layoff 1,200 of those do-nothing folks I've seen working at the MTA]

While the MTA still plans to go ahead with plans to close down 164 booths, the clerks will remain as roving customer service agents. [ed. note - roving customer service agents" -- oh, sure, that means they'll be roving right over to the coffee shop.]Also, plans to cut back on off-peak bus service will be phased in much more slowly.

Also, the G train will be saved. The MTA had proposed cutting the line in half so that it would terminate at Court Square in Long Island City at all times.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says with the city's budget problems, it does not have enough money to bail out the MTA. He also says the agency has to figure out how to run more efficiently.

“I’ve started to work with each of the agency heads and say, ‘You’re going to have to cut three percent the rest of this year, which would translate into six percent if it was for a whole year next year,’ and they’re going to have to do the same thing," Bloomberg said Friday on his weekly radio show.

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