MTA Fare Hikes Frustrate New Rochelle Commuters

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Morning commuters board a Metro-North train to Grand Central. Photo Credit: Chaya Babu

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. ‒ New Rochelle commuters expressed frustration and resignation Thursday morning in the face of pending increases in MTA train, subway and bus fares.

“I think it’s extremely ridiculous,” said Markeia Miller, 33, who takes Metro-North to New York and then has to get on the subway downtown. “I pay $204 monthly just to Grand Central. And then I have to take the 4 or 5 train to Wall Street, so that’s another $104. It’s ridiculous – every time I turn around there’s a fare hike.” Her combined travel costs will go up more than $25.

Sonia Bendick, 35, also goes into Manhattan from New Rochelle almost daily. “Unfortunately, it’s one of those things where I don’t have another option and I’m going to have to pay it,” she said. “When I first started commuting eight years ago, it was like $150, and it’s going to keep going up. We can’t really do anything about it.”

The system-wide increases are intended to close a $450 million deficit. They go into effect on March 1, 2013.

MTA Chair and CEO Joseph Lhota said in October that the fare and toll increases were necessitated by rising costs for “debt service, pensions, energy, paratransit and employee and retiree health care,” which the MTA does not control.

Most of the increases are between 8.19 percent and 9.13 percent, according to Metro-North.

For example, a one-way peak ticket from White Plains, Scarsdale, Hartsdale, Hastings, Dobbs Ferry, Ardsley and Irvington to Grand Central Station will go from $10.50 to $11.25, an increase of 7.14 percent. A one-way off-peak ticket will go from $7.75 to $8.50, an increase of 9.68 percent. A monthly ticket will increase 8.73 percent, from $229 to $249.

For travel to and from Connecticut, the new fares go into effect Jan. 1, 2013, and reflect a slightly lower increase of 5.04 percent.

“Five percent is kind of steep, but they have to do what they have to do, so I mean I’ll deal with it,” said Stephen Walker, 48, who comes to New Rochelle every day from Fairfield County. “But my train ticket’s $150 now, so it will be almost $160. Plus with what the federal government’s going to do with the fiscal cliff, how much more is my check going to go down?”

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