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Fare hike doesn’t fix transit trouble

It’s official: Starting Dec. 30, a monthly MetroCard will cost $104. But the new triple-digit fare is just a Band-Aid on the MTA’s bigger problems, said authority officials.

It’s official: Starting Dec. 30, a monthly MetroCard will cost $104. But the new triple-digit fare is just a Band-Aid on the MTA’s bigger problems, said authority officials.

“The business plan of the MTA is a ticking time bomb,” warned MTA vice-chairman Andrew Saul. “We need to make major structural changes, otherwise this fare hike of 7.5 percent is just the beginning.”

It was either raise fares or cut bus and subway routes yet again, threatened MTA Chairman Jay Walder. A second round of service cuts would be even more drastic than those in June, when the MTA wiped out the W line and cut the G in half, he said.

The fare increase will raise $425 million next year. If riders don’t pay more, future service cuts would be “four times” worse than they were earlier this year, said Walder.

Health care, pension costs, and wage increases all cost the MTA hundreds of millions and will rise in years to come, said Walder.

But the MTA’s financial woes mean little to riders who will now pay more to squeeze into overcrowded trains.

“See all these people on the train?” said Keith Smith, 37, as he got onto a 4 train Thursday. “And they all pay to ride it. That is so much money. You would think that with all of that money they could run the system efficiently.”

The next fare hike is scheduled to occur in 2013.

 
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