If you are the one of many who park your car at certain Long Island Rail Road or Metro-North Railroad stations, be prepared to shell out more cash if the transit divisions have their way. Due to the current budget crisis, the MTA is looking at any & all ways to stick it to the consumer & drivers are no exception.
The LIRR is looking to increase rates by more than 20% while the MNRR is looking to do so by an average of 14.5%. Andrew Grossman of the Wall Street Journal has more:
Commuter railroad passengers will likely pay more to park at 32 train stations starting in December.
Metro-North Railroad is asking the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board to approve a plan to raise parking fees by an average of 14.5% at the lots and garages it owns north of New York City. Long Island Rail Road is also seeking to raise parking fees by more than 20% at garages in Mineola and Ronkonkoma.
The increases would raise a combined $840,000 in revenue for the two railroads, according to the proposal. The railroads say the increases are needed to raise revenue and cover operating costs.
The board will consider that proposal and other revenue-raising measures—including fare hikes—at meetings Monday and Wednesday. The MTA has been scrambling to fill an $800 million gap in its nearly $12 billion budget this year. The agency has already implemented drastic service cuts, laid off workers and cut administrative costs. But those moves haven’t been enough to make up for lower-than-expected receipts of dedicated tax revenues.
MTA managers have been trying to keep the net fare increase to 7.5%, but some riders—such as those using 30-day unlimited passes—would see their fares jump higher. The new fares would take effect January 1, 2011.
The MTA is as much “a victim of what’s happened as the riding public,” said Gene Russianoff, a lawyer for the Straphangers Campaign, a rider-advocacy group. “My biggest worry is that the burdens are not being spread fairly among all the beneficiaries of transit,” he said.
The group opposes the fare plan, which was part of a bailout deal struck between the MTA and the state in 2009 that called for regular increases every two years. The plan also allocated new funding for the MTA. But the Legislature has siphoned off some of that money, leading Mr. Russianoff to say that the agreement has been broken.
Click here for the complete report.
Talk about a double whammy for riders who drive to stations where it costs to park. They not only have the unfortunate task of paying an increased fare, but a charge to park the vehicle that many are happy to see they are not using to commute to their destination. I understand the agency is in a huge financial crisis but stop trying to stick it to riders at every possible turn.
I know there will be a few clueless people who will make statements such as this won’t be a big deal since most drivers who use their car as their main commuting option due so as a luxury. Well newsflash to those people, your sentiments are still clueless & out of touch with reality. Times are tough for at least 7 out of every 10 people & it is getting to a point where something will have to give.
The agency has to be very careful to not drive away customers in droves. Eventually it will just flat out be cheaper to drive instead of paying more money for less service as well as to park to access less service. I think this crossroad is getting closer & closer to being a choice that many will have to make.
I’m siding on the cars winning out so if I were the MTA, I’d seriously reconsider another way to raise revenue. How about getting the money you rightfully deserve from our elected officials. What a novel idea……………
xoxo Transit Blogger