Tag Archives: fare hikes

Street Talk: Would you be willing to pay more to ride the rails if the MTA made safety improvements?


| editorial@queenscourier.com

street talk

-BY ROSA MICHAELS

Yes, I believe glass doors on the platforms in front of the tracks will keep us all safer.
Ray Turbin

Yes, If they cleaned it up a little and more cameras were put around, it would be safer.
Cary Aloise

No, it’s too much money already and they always say there will be improvements but I never see any.
Mohsina Khan

Yes. It’s pretty safe now and there haven’t been any derailments, but I think more cameras would help out a lot.
John Aloise

Yes, safety is a high standard. But in the long run people will appreciate it.
Nazim K.

Yes, because lately there have been a lot of accidents and it would be very helpful. I don’t think people would mind paying for that.
Christopher Khan

Yes, because people have been pushed onto the tracks and sometimes others fall. To make improvements I’m sure they will need more money.
Bella Schaefer

Yes, it’s for improvements. Also, they need to correct the delays and the cleanliness.
Antonio Rojano

Tell us your response to this week’s Street Talk question in the comment section below. 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Clear. High of 48. Breezy. Winds from the WNW at 15 to 20 mph. Wednesday night: Clear in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 36. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 15 mph

EVENT of the DAY: Queens Young Professionals Holiday Party

Recently, the Queens Young Professionals group formed to provide resources and networking opportunities to cultivate the borough’s future business leaders and encourage the next generation to become invested in borough wide issues. QYP, which is free to join, hosts its first ever holiday party with an unlimited buffet and specially priced drinks plus the chance to network. $10. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

M.T.A. chief will resign as he looks at mayoral bid

Joseph J. Lhota, the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, has informed the Cuomo administration that he is stepping down from his position, according to four people with direct knowledge of his plans. Read more: New York Times

MTA to vote on fare, toll hike proposal Wednesday

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is scheduled to vote on its latest fare and toll hike proposal Wednesday morning. Read more: NY1

Little-known program can help flood-prone homeowners stave off future damage

Broad Channel homeowner Joan Delahunt, still reeling from the impact of Hurricane Irene, was working on a plan to raise the level of her flood-prone home when Superstorm Sandy struck. Read more: New York Daily News

NRA breaks silence, comments on Newtown tragedy

After four days of self-imposed silence on the shooting that killed 26 people inside a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, the nation’s largest gun rights lobby emerged Tuesday and promised “to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.” ABC New York

Obama to call for gun policy changes

President Barack Obama is launching an administration-wide effort to curb gun violence, underscoring the growing political consensus over tightening gun restrictions following the horrific massacre at a Connecticut elementary school. Read more: Fox New York

Instagram takes step back, says ‘It is not our intention to sell your photos

Instagram, the popular mobile photo-sharing service now owned by Facebook, has backpedaled on some of its planned changes that led to concerns that it would use its members’ photos in advertisements. Read more: CBS New York

Time 2012 Person of the Year: Barack Obama

Twenty-seven years after driving from New York City to Chicago in a $2,000 Honda Civic for a job that probably wouldn’t amount to much, Barack Obama, in better shape but with grayer hair, stood in the presidential suite on the top floor of the Fairmont Millennium Park hotel as flat screens announced his re-election as President of the United States. Read more: Time magazine

 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 48. Winds from the NW at 10 to 15 mph. Tuesday night: Overcast in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 34. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: 20th Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival

In the first movie, A Mother’s Love, a strong black woman’s taste for the good life does not include her husband or daughter Monica. It takes another’s love and prayers to get the mother down to earth. The second flick, Between Friends, is set in Trinidad and Tobago. Middle class youngsters go to nightclubs and share moments at the beach, but filmmaker gradually exposes the different layers of their interaction. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Sources: Man shot in Midtown was aspiring Los Angeles rapper

Police say just before 2 p.m. Monday someone walked westbound on 58th street towards Broadway and shot Brandon Lincoln Woodard, 31, at close range in the back of the head. Read more: NY1

Queens drug addict busted for killing his mother and father — one year apart — as evidence surfaces under the patents’ fingernails

They gave him his DNA. And in the end, that genetic material doomed him. Queens drug addict Gregory Cucchiara, a 290-pound behemoth with a long rap sheet and little record of achievement, murdered his mother and father in separate attacks a year apart — murders that were ultimately solved from biological evidence found under the parents’ fingernails, law enforcement authorities said. Read more New York Daily News

MTA quits countdown clocks in favor of ‘Bus Time

Time has run out for New York City bus riders hoping to rely on countdown clocks. The MTA is reportedly giving up on posting electronic message boards that show bus arrival times. Read more: ABC New York

Single rides and monthly passes to cost more in M.T.A. plan

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board appears poised to consider a proposal that would increase base fares on subways and buses by a quarter, to $2.50, and raise the cost of a 30-day pass by $8, to $112. Read more: New York Times

Heroic ‘Operation Breezy Gut and Pump’ comes to an end

After an exhausting month of gutting, pumping and rebuilding, a heroic volunteer group suspended their Breezy Point operation on Sunday. Read more: New York Daily News

Strauss-Kahn, NYC hotel maid settle civil lawsuit over alleged assault

Dominique Strauss-Kahn and a New York hotel maid who accused the former International Monetary Fund chief of sexually assaulting her agreed on Monday to settle her civil lawsuit against him for an undisclosed sum, ending one chapter of a scandal that cost him his job and derailed his political career in France. Read more: Reuters

Queens residents sound off on MTA fare hikes


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Chris Coury pleaded with officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), telling them that paying to get to and from is making a “big dent” in his wallet.

“Please, be reasonable,” urged Coury, a recent college graduate, to a panel of MTA board members at the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel.

The MTA has been touring the city, stopping in each borough to allow residents to sound off on the proposed fare hikes.

In October, the transit authority unveiled four proposals for fare hikes, one of which will be put into place March of next year. Under the first proposal, the MetroCard base fare would rise from $2.25 to $2.50, leaving the seven percent bonus discount unchanged, but increasing a 30-day unlimited pass to $112, and a seven-day to $30. In another, the base fare would remain unchanged; the bonus discount would be reduced to five percent, increasing the 30-day pass to $125, and the seven-day to $34. Another option is to eliminate the bonus discount, increasing the 30-day pass to $119 and the seven-day to $32. The proposals would also increase bus fares and bridge and tunnel tolls.

According to the MTA’s website, the fare hikes would “raise additional, vitally needed revenue to support the New York region’s transportation system,” since these proposals come “during an era of successful and unprecedented MTA management actions to cut controllable expenses.”

Joseph Lhota, MTA Chair and CEO; Stephen Morello, Counselor to the Chair; Helena Williams, Long Island Railroad (LIRR) President; Thomas Pendergast, New York City transit President; and several other MTA board members were in attendance at the Thursday, November 15 public hearing.

Coury, who recently graduated from Berkeley College in Midtown, now lives in Flushing and works part-time to pay off his student loans. He said that the proposed hikes will only take a bigger bite out of his budget.

Roughly 20 residents and Assemblymember Ed Braunstein spoke out against the fare increases, many calling them “unfair,” “ridiculous” and “outrageous.”

Jason Chin-Fatt of the NYC Straphangers Campaign spoke out on behalf of a number of rider testimonies submitted to their organization, and compared choosing one of the four MTA proposals to “picking your poison.”

Several students from Queens College attended the hearing, claiming that because they are largely a commuter school, many of them would suffer.

“An increased fare could be the roadblock between a students and their degree,” said student Jaqi Cohen.

The MTA panel listened to each speaker, and will take each testimony into account when making their final vote. There will be two more public hearings the week of November 26, one in Staten Island and another on Long Island. After the last hearing, the board will vote on passing one of the four proposals.

For more information on the MTA fare hike proposals and to submit rider testimony, straphangers can visit www.mta.info.

Public hearing on MTA fare hikes to be held in Queens today


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

After the MTA released its proposed fare hikes last month, riders in Queens will get the chance to sound off about the proposed increases, when the transit agency holds a public hearing in the borough this Thursday, November 15.

It will take place at 5 p.m. in the ballroom of the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel in Flushing, located at 135-20 39th Avenue.

This week there will also be video conference hearings at the Hicksville and Ronkonkoma LIRR stations on Tuesday and Wednesday, and in Lower Manhattan, 2 Broadway (3 Stone Street entrance), bid room suite, on Thursday.

The MTA is also accepting public statements via email and regular mail.

In the meantime, some straphangers are annoyed with the MTA after it was widely reported Tuesday that there will be no refunds for unlimited weekly and monthly MetroCard holders that purchased them before Sandy shut down public transit.

Though no refund was issued after the Irene suspension, there was one following the 2005 transit strike.

The MTA also gives a refund for a lost or stolen MetroCard, as long as it was purchased with a debit or credit card and reported missing.

 

Unwelcome options


| qceditorial@queenscourier.com

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has officially announced its proposals for fare hikes that “will bring in “vitally needed revenue to support the New York region’s transportation system.”

There are four options on the table:

Two options keep the base fare at $2.25; the other two raise it to $2.50.

The cost of a weekly unlimited MetroCard would go up from $29 to $34 and the monthly from $104 to $125. The seven percent discount for every $10 put on a MetroCard would be lowered to five percent.

The second option would raise unlimited rides to $32 and $119, but eliminate the discount.

If the MTA raises the base fare to $2.50, then straphangers would keep the seven percent discount, but pay more for an unlimited MetroCard ($30 and $112).

The final option would keep weekly unlimited MetroCards at $29, and only increase the monthly by $5, but the base fare would be $2.50, and there would be no discounts.

MTA officials also came up with four proposals for express buses. And tolls at area bridges and tunnels would go up too.

And though usually we are fans of options, in this case, not so much.

Whatever way you slice it, it means more money out of our pockets, since these hikes would be the fourth increase in five years for subway, bus and commuter rail fares.

And though the MTA is letting the public weigh in on the options in a series of public and video forums, we have the sinking — or should we say rising — suspicion that the commuters are going to lose out.

MTA announces fare and toll hike proposals


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA

Today the Metropolitan Transit Authority officially announced its proposals for the fare and toll hikes that are planned for March.

The agency said that the increases will bring in “vitally needed revenue to support the New York region’s transportation system.”

The MTA is considering four options that would increase bus and subway rides.

On October 10, the New York Daily News published those options ahead of time. Though the MTA would not confirm whether those were its actual proposals, the ones it revealed today did reflect the ones the paper released.

Two options keep the base fare at $2.25; the other two raise it to $2.50.

If the base fare stays the same, the cost of a weekly unlimited MetroCard would go up from $29 to $34 and the monthly from $104 to $125. The seven percent discount for every $10 put on a MetroCard would be lowered to five percent.

The second option would raise unlimited rides to $32 and $119, but eliminate the discount.

If the MTA raises the base fare to $2.50, then straphangers would keep the seven percent discount, but pay more for an unlimited MetroCard ($30 and $112).

The final option would keep weekly unlimited MetroCards at $29, and only increase the monthly by $5, but the base fare would be $2.50, and there would be no discounts.

There are also four proposals for express buses. Again, two would keep the base fare, which is currently $5.50, and the two others would raise it 50 cents. The options would also have similar trade-offs for MetroCard discounts and unlimited rides.

Most of Long Island Railroad and Metro-North tickets would go up by 8.19 to 9.31 percent, said the MTA.

These hikes would be the fourth increase in five years for subway, bus and commuter rail fares and that is one too many said public transportation advocacy group, the Straphangers Campaign, following the MTA’s fare proposals announcement.

“Blocking or reducing the fare increase is possible, if we get more help from Albany,” said Straphangers spokesperson Gene Russianoff. “One promising plan is to generate new revenue by both raising and lowering tolls on city bridges and tunnels in line with where there is the most and least congestion.”

The proposals that the MTA announced Monday would raise the tolls for many area bridges and tunnels. Though E-ZPass customers would still pay less than other drivers, everyone will be paying more.

Those increases include raising the tolls for the Queens Midtown Tunnel, Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, Throgs Neck Bridge, Bronx-Whitestone Bridge and the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel from $4.80 to $5.30 for E-ZPass holders and from $6.50 to $7.50 for other drivers.

Tolls for the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge would go up between 12 and 33 cents, depending on whether the driver has an EZ-Pass or is a Rockaway resident.

In November, a month before the MTA votes on how it’s going to raise tolls and fares, the agency is letting the public weigh in on the options in a series of public and video forums. It is also accepting public statements via email and regular mail.

“The public will have significant input into our decision-making process. In the spirit of transparency, the public will assist in shaping our fare policy,” said MTA chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota. “These proposals have been designed to balance our need for revenue with public involvement. We need to hear from the public. Feedback evaluating the specific alternatives we’ve put forward is particularly useful, but we value all our customers’ input, and we’ll consider changes to our proposals based on what we hear and read.”

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain, then a chance of rain in the afternoon. High of 70. Winds from the South at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 20%. Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 61. Breezy. Winds from the WNW at 15 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Spirited Irish music in Woodside

Fiddle-guitar duo Cady & Vita bring Spirited Irish music to local Woodside bar, Two Shotz. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Bronx activists warn Queens to be wary of soccer stadium deal

This cautionary Bronx tale is one to avoid repeating. Bronx activists had some advice on Tuesday for Queens: Keep your precious park land and ignore the stadium sweet talk. Read more: New York Daily News

Queens man cleared of stealing police weapons for cash

Ronald De Shields faced serious charges. He was accused of sneaking into the 103rd Precinct in Queens, breaking into lockers and stealing two 9 mm guns from officers. Read more: NY1

Homeless sex offenders housed near school

Angry parents are demanding answers after a building that was supposed to house families in need in Queens is now home to some dangerous sex offenders. Read more: ABC New York

St. John’s dean Cecilia Chang ‘betrayed the students she was supposed to mentor’ by forcing them to work for her or lose scholarships, feds say

A disgraced St. John’s University dean threatened to revoke the scholarships of foreign students unless they washed her underwear, cleaned her home and cooked her meals, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday. Read more: New York Daily News

MTA fare, toll hike hearings scheduled

Public hearings will be held in November over the proposed increase in fares and tolls by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Read more: Fox New York 

Choice dining time surcharges likely coming to New York City restaurants

The next time you go out to eat, you may end up paying more at your favorite restaurant. Read more: CBS New York

Sandusky gets at least 30 years, denies wrongdoing

In what sounded at times like a locker room pep talk, Jerry Sandusky rambled in his red prison suit about being the underdog in the fourth quarter, about forgiveness, about dogs and about the movie “Seabiscuit.” Read more: AP

Toyota to recall 7.4 million vehicles over power window glitch

Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) said it would recall more than 7.4 million vehicles worldwide as a faulty power window switch was a potential fire hazard, the latest in a series of setbacks that have dented the reputation of Japan’s biggest automaker. Read more: Reuters

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Partly cloudy in the morning, then mostly cloudy. High of 75. Breezy. Winds from the SSW at 15 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 30%. Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy with thunderstorms and rain showers in the evening, then partly cloudy with a chance of rain. Low of 63. Winds from the WSW at 10 to 15 mph shifting to the NW after midnight. Chance of rain 60%.

EVENT of the DAY: Making Humps & Bumps exhibition

This is the last day to see the exhibition Making Humps & Bumps at the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, featuring rendering photographs and models of the sculpture, presenting the process of making the public art sculpture behind the scenes. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens bike horror

A father of two biking to work in Queens died on his birthday yesterday after smashing into a truck, police said. Read more: New York Post

PCB leak worries at Queens school

A PCB leak at a school in Long Island City has parents and local leaders outraged. They gathered outside IS 204 on Tuesday morning to draw attention to the matter. Read more: Fox New York

New $2.3 million Elmhurst Park bathrooms have lots of style and room

So this is what a $2 million public bathroom looks like. The long-awaited comfort station at Elmhurst Park, with its edgy design and spacious bathrooms, has finally opened its doors. Read more: New York Daily News

City plans to open 5 new homeless shelters

New York City plans to open at least five new homeless shelters by the end of the year. The expansion is in response to a sharp increase in the homeless population. Read more: NBC New York

MTA announces schedule for potential fare hike public hearings

The MTA announced Tuesday scheduled dates for public hearings on its plan to raise fares. Read more: NY1

Controversial pro-Israel subway ads immediately defaced, stamped as hate speech

Some controversial subway ads have been up for just one day — and already, they’ve been vandalized and have generated thousands of complaints. Read more: CBS New York

Obama urges UN to confront roots of Muslim rage

President Barack Obama told world leaders Tuesday that attacks on U.S. citizens in Libya “were attacks on America,” and he called on them to join in confronting the root causes of the rage across the Muslim world. Read more: AP

 

 

Riders gear up for potential MTA fare increases


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Maggie Hayes

MTA fares may be going up, and Queens residents are pretty down about it.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” said Vena G., who uses the bus frequently to travel the borough looking for a job.

The proposal set by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) will be unveiled next month, and many changes could be on the horizon.

Bus and subway fares could potentially increase to $2.50, up from the current $2.25, while also eliminating the seven percent bonus for buying $10 or more on a MetroCard. Unlimited MetroCards could also rise by five percent, sending a seven-day MetroCard from $29 to $30, and a monthly pass from $104 to $109.

This would be the fourth MTA fare increase in five years.

“For me, it’s definitely going to limit my ability to go look for a job,” said Vena, a certified pharmacy technician who has been out of work for two months.

“I don’t understand why [the MTA is] doing this. It’s not fair,” she said.

As noted by the New York City Straphangers Campaign, the biggest losers in this deal would be those buying discounted pay-per-ride MetroCards. Their fare would go from $2.10 to $2.50-a-ride, translating into an extra $200 a year.

The Straphangers “urge transit riders to speak up when the MTA holds fare increase hearings.”

The MTA would not comment on the potential fare hikes, aside from relaying that there will be public hearings in November, and the board will vote on a decision in December. If approved, the hikes are scheduled to be in place by March of next year.

“They try to raise it just like that, and I think it’s bad management,” said one elderly man waiting for the Q13 line.

“It will absolutely affect my day. I don’t have a car, and in this city, public transportation is safer. But if I’m spending more money on the bus, I’m spending less money on things I really need, less money on people who really need it,” he said.

Along with raising fares for commuter trains, subways and buses, bridge and tunnel tolls around the city could potentially see a 15 percent increase. This would raise bridge tolls such as the Verrazano to $15, and the Queens-Midtown Tunnel to $7.50.

“New sources of revenue are needed to provide decent service at an affordable level, such as placing tolls on the free . . . bridges,” said the Straphangers Campaign in a statement.

“They already have a monopoly, what’s the point? Now they’re just taking advantage,” said Vena.