LIRR Train

Marta Zielinska

Another Fare Hike On The Way Thanks To The MTA

July 26, 2018 - 10:58 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) -- The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is pushing forward with plans to increase fares next year.

Fewer people are riding the rails and buses these days, and that's causing a money crunch at the MTA.

MTA Chairman Joe Lhota proposed two 4 percent fare hikes during a board meeting Wednesday, with one taking place in 2019, and the other in 2021.

MTA officials say the hikes are necessary to stave off budget deficits and decreased ridership.

Subway and bus ridership dropped by 7.7 million weekday passengers in May compared to the same time last year, according to a Daily News report. The agency is expected to see a $376 million decrease in fare revenue between 2019 and 2022.

Lhota says the transit system is experiencing a nationwide trend of fewer riders. He says it's due to a combination of service, for-hire vehicles like Uber and Lyft and fare evasion.

As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, Lhota said the fare hikes are practically inevitable unless money comes in from some other source. Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday made it plain that he does not want that source to be New York City.

"Show us what they're doing with all the money that they already have,” de Blasio demanded. “And I respect the people at the MTA and I have a good working relationship with them. And I've said it to them, legislation should decide to require us to put money into the subway action plan. Show us what you're doing with the money. There's no blank check around here, and New Yorkers have every right to see how that money's being used."

De Blasio also took a verbal swipe at a couple of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pet ideas for mass transit.

“We keep having to fight back on non-essential things. Originally, you remember the lights on the bridges, and there were all sorts of station amenities. I have talked to a lot of New Yorkers. When I’m on the subway, people don’t say, ‘Geez, I wish we had more lights on bridges, or I wish we had a countdown clock as much as I want the train to show up,’” de Blasio said. “I’d rather the train show up and I didn’t have a countdown clock than I have a countdown clock telling me the train’s not here.”

The mayor said New Yorkers want to make sure their money is going into making the trains run well, including upgrades to the antiquated signal system.

Meanwhile, straphangers are tired of the delays and constant disruptions, one woman told WCBS 880's Sean Adams.

She also said she hates to admit it but she is now "that person" and takes Uber everywhere.

"I was just on CBS telling everyone how great Uber is compared to taking the trains," the woman said.