Tag Archives: MTA fare hikes

MTA plan reduces future fare hikes


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

MTA customers received some cost-saving news Wednesday.

The transit agency said that it expects increased cost cutting, lower expenses and higher operating revenues will allow it to reduce previously announced 2015 and 2017 fare and toll hikes from 7.5 to 4 percent.

The reduction was outlined in the MTA’s Final Proposed 2014 Budget and Four-Year Financial Plan, which was released today.

“We try to keep costs down in order to minimize the financial burden on our customers, and as this financial plan shows, we are succeeding in that effort,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “Our customers want value, which is quality and quantity of service, and that service has to be reliable and safe. Through this financial plan, that’s what we work to provide.”

The MTA Board will vote on whether to adopt the Final 2014 Budget and Four-Year Financial Plan in December.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High of 84. Winds from the East at 5 to 10 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 70. Winds from the South at 5 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Family Movies in the Park – Glory

Check out a free film screening of Glory, a dramatic account of the Civil War’s first all-black regiment, led by northern white commander Colonel Robert Gould Shaw at Baisley Pond Park at 8 p.m. This movie is based on the idealistic, privileged Shaw’s Civil War letters. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Anthony Weiner stays in race, new campaign ad

New York City mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner has released a new campaign video saying he won’t quit the race. Read more: AP

Advocacy group: MTA fares could jump to $3.75 in a decade

It is only a projection, but an advocacy group warned Tuesday that if the Metropolitan Transportation Authority goes on raising fares as it has the past two times, a single subway or bus ride could cost $3.75 in 10 years. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Queens physician charged with being a Dr. Feelgood, selling Oxycodone prescriptions

A Queens doctor was busted Tuesday for allegedly acting more like a dealer than a healer — taking money for prescriptions for painkillers without examining patients, officials said. Read more: New York Daily News

Coalition formed to oppose Spitzer’s campaign

Business leaders, women’s groups and labor unions have joined forces in an effort to convince voters that former governor Eliot Spitzer would be a poor choice for New York City comptroller. Read more: AP

Montreal-bound American Eagle flight out of LaGuardia makes emergency landing upstate

An American Eagle flight that departed LaGuardia Airport bound for Montreal Tuesday made an emergency landing at an upstate airport after smoke was reported in the cockpit and cabin. Read more: New York Daily News

U.S. military judge to hear arguments in Manning sentencing

The trial of Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier found guilty on 19 counts of handing over classified data to WikiLeaks, is scheduled to move into the sentencing phase on Wednesday. Read more: Reuters

LIRR riders say no justification for fare hikes


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

MetroCard holders are not the only ones pinching pennies now that fare hikes are in effect.

Starting on Friday, March 1, monthly, one-way, round-trip and 10-trip tickets all went up an average of 8.2 to 9.3 percent for Long Island Rail Road riders.

On the first full work week of higher fares, LIRR commuters in Queens questioned why they are paying more to ride, but are not receiving better service.

“I don’t know how [the LIRR] can justify constantly increasing prices,” said Kevin Gilmartin, a New Jersey resident who has been regularly taking the train from Penn Station to Queens to do millwork projects in the borough for around five years.

Gilmartin knows that taking the train is cheaper than driving, but said with ridership up, the MTA should be lowering prices, not increasing them.

For Nina Rahn, a Bayside resident who commutes to her retail job in Manhattan about four times a week, the fare hike adds up to around $50 more per month.

“I didn’t get a raise at work, so it’s like paying another bill,” said Rahn.

She is also shelling out more cash to ride the bus to and from the train station since MetroCard fares also recently increased.

Agreeing with Gilmartin, Rahn said that if she’s paying more, she wants to see improvements, such as extra trains or fewer signal problems, but those things likely won’t happen.

“Where does the money go?” she said.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Mostly cloudy. High of 46. Winds from the NNW at 10 to 15 mph. Friday night: Overcast in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 32. Winds from the NW at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Sixth Annual Panorama Challenge NYC Team Trivia Game

At the Queens Museum of Art, participate in the world’s only geographical trivia-based game night involving the world’s largest architectural model The Panorama of the City of New York. This challenge involves audio clues and laser-pointers highlighting assorted NYC landmarks, bridges, neighborhoods, parks and more. $10 suggested donation with all proceeds supporting the City Reliquary Museum in Williamsburg. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Two charged with murder, kidnapping for deadly South Richmond Hill fire

Authorities have arrested and charged two men in conjunction with the South Richmond Hill fire that revealed one man bound and shot. Read more: Queens Courier

Metro-North, LIRR fare hikes go into effect

The first round of MTA fare and toll hikes went into effect Friday morning. Read more: CBS New York

City Council wants Albany to give tax relief for Sandy homeowners

Homeowners who decide to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy may find that they are paying for the privilege. Read more: NY1

Breezy Point residents still planning Wounded Warriors event

Residents in Breezy Point are committed to hosting their annual Wounded Warriors event despite all the storm damage. Read more: Fox New York

Man arrested at LaGuardia after switchblades found in carry on, authorities say

Authorities at LaGuardia Airport arrested a man Wednesday that they say had three switchblades in his carry-on luggage. Read more: NY1

Obama to hold budget talks with congressional leaders

A fiscal deadline all but blown, President Obama says he once again wants to seek a big fiscal deal that would raise taxes and trim billions from expensive and ever growing entitlement programs. Read more: ABC New York/AP

MTA fare hikes begin this week


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA's Flickr

MTA fare hikes that will increase MetroCard prices across the board will take effect on Sunday, March 3.

In addition to raising the base fare from $2.25 to $2.50, monthly, weekly and express bus rides will also go up, and the MetroCard discount will change from 7 percent off with every $10 purchased to 5 percent off with every $5 spent.

Long Island Railroad, Metro-North and Staten Island Railway tickets, Access-A-Ride fares, and MTA bridge and tunnel tolls will increase in early March as well.

Starting Sunday, the MTA is also introducing a “New Card Fee,” where riders will have to pay $1 each time they buy a new MetroCard at a machine or station booth. To ease that burden, the transit agency recently announced that customers can refill their MetroCards with a combination of both unlimited-ride time and pay-per-ride dollar values.

“This card is the most flexible MetroCard ever offered and the best way to avoid paying the $1 New Card Fee by refilling and reusing your current card,” said MTA interim executive director Thomas Prendergast. “We produce almost 160 million MetroCards each year at an annual cost of nearly $10 million. Many of the cards often end up as litter in the system, so by refilling your MetroCard, you’ll reduce expenses and help the environment.”

But saving the earth isn’t enough for riders that need to shell out more cash in an economy where pay raises are few and far between.

“It’s difficult because [I will be making] the same money,” Lilliana Napolitano of Flushing said about the fare hikes.
Donna Reid of Jamaica, who just read heard about the fare hikes this week, was unaware how much more she has to pay, and didn’t know that unlimited rides were increasing.

Even though Reid saves money by buying a monthly MetroCard to take the bus, she will have to spend an extra $8 every 30 days.

She also didn’t realize that straphangers will need to pay extra for each new MetroCard.

“I don’t see why they have to be charging [a New Card Fee],” while people already have to pay taxes,” she said.

 

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MTA head Joe Lhota resigns to explore mayoral run


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA/Flickr

Following the MTA board’s approval of his fare hike proposal, CEO and Chairman Joe Lhota announced that he will resign, effective December 31, to consider running for New York City mayor in 2013.

At the announcement, Lhota said that he would make “no further comment” on his mayoral candidacy until early January, when he will announce his decision.

The approved fare and toll changes, which raise the MetroCard base and unlimited fares, reduce the discount, as well as increases ticket prices on the Long Island Railroad and Metro-North, and raise tolls on MTA bridges and tunnels, are Lhota’s last hoorah as the agency’s head, and could conceivably hurt his chances among voters.

Post-Sandy polls showed that the majority of New Yorkers were pleased with how the MTA responded to the superstorm and its aftermath, but voters are fed up with the frequent fare hikes.

His party could also be an obstacle.

After two decades, the city will likely have a Democratic mayor again.

A November Quinnipiac University poll found that if Lhota ran for mayor as a Republican he would lose to an unnamed Democratic candidate 60 to nine percent. Forty-five percent of those surveyed also disapproved of how Lhota is handling his job as the head of the MTA.

Current mayor Michael Bloomberg, who ran for his first two terms as a Republican before switching to an Independent before his third run, is expected to endorse City Council Speaker and Democrat Christine Quinn, and reportedly even asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run.

Another former mayor, Rudy Giuliani, however, is expected to endorse Lhota, who served as his deputy mayor for operations. Giuliani also reportedly encouraged him to run.

The MTA chair also worked in investment banking, was an executive vice president for the Madison Square Garden Company, and served as the city’s budget director and commissioner of finance, before Governor

Andrew Cuomo appointed him as head of the transit agency in November 2011.

Before facing a Democrat, Lhota needs to win the Republican primary, where he could run against newspaper publisher Tom Allon, billionaire grocer John Catsimatidis, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, former Bronx borough president Adolfo Carrión Jr. and Doe Fund founder and president George McDonald.

The same November Quinnipiac poll also found that Lhota would lose to Carrión 62 to 11 percent.

 

MTA may cut MetroCard discounts


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph Lhota said today that the MTA could do away with MetroCard discounts in an effort to raise the agency’s revenues, reported Crain’s New York Business.

“We have enormous discounts in the system. And I think we need to look at those discounts, and we need to have, on the entire fare issue, a public debate,” Lhota said at breakfast forum sponsored by the publication Wednesday.

Cutting the discounts is just one of several options that is under consideration, said an MTA spokesperson.

Currently, subway riders receive a 7 percent bonus when they put $10 or more on their MetroCards.

But even if the discounts are cut, there could still be a fare hike, Lhota stressed. The MTA plans on raising fares by 7.5 percent in March 2013.