$1.50 Off Peak Fare A Sham?

This might be the case according to Daily News transit reporter Pete Donohue who wrote an article about it yesterday. It seems the press release about the 8 public hearings contained comments about the proposed fare hike. What caught Pete’s attention was the New York City Transit version of the fare hike poster that came with the press release.

The poster said the following under the “Pay-Per-Ride Metrocard” section:

Establish a peak fare no higher than $2.25 and a discounted off-peak fare no higher than $1.75 for subway and/or local bus service, available with a Pay-Per-Ride Metrocard.”

The MTA sent out spokesman Jeremy Soffin to assure the public that the notices cite a higher price to give the MTA board “flexibility” to raise $580 million dollars over the next two years. According to Mr. Soffin, “this is not our proposal.” Unfortunately these are not the only surprises to Pete & many others. Here are a list of the other changes from this week’s poster & last month’s announced proposals:

    $6 minimum on all Pay-Per-Ride Metrocards
    Raising the price of an unlimited monthly Metrocard to $84. Last month’s proposals stated $82 as the highest price.
    Either raising the price of a 1 day fun pass to $7.50 or eliminating it altogether
    Introducing a 14 day unlimited Metrocard at a cost of $48. Last month’s proposals stated it would be $45
    The possibility of lowering the bonus on Metrocard purchases of $10 or more. The notice even mentions that the bonus might be eliminated altogether. Last month’s proposal either had a 20% bonus or no bonus with fares either being $2.25 during peak use & $1.50 during non peak use.

According to the MTA, if any specific section sees a higher price than what was in any of last month’s proposals, riders would see a lowered price in another category based on last month’s price list.

Some have already spoken out about the changes & fare hike in general. Lets start off with The Straphangers Campaign’s own Gene Russianoff who is calling a spade a spade in terms of the MTA using the word “flexibility” in describing the changes. Gene had this to say:

Flexibility is a code word for ‘it could happen. They are proposing the biggest fare hike in the history of the system.”

Some commuters have shared their opinions good & bad in regards to the proposed hikes according to Pete’s article. Here are a few comments:

    22 year old Long Island resident Lorraine Pheifer – “It really bothers me. It’s going up, up and up, and they keep it from us until it’s right on us.”
    45 year old Queens teacher Ava Manie – She feels any fare hikes are “outrageous” due to the poor service the MTA provides.
    44 year old Bronx lab technician Kimberly Halsey – “I’m not upset at all. It’s a good deal. You can float all over the city especially with a MetroCard. What’s a quarter?”

I laugh at clueless individuals such as Kimberly Halsey. While I like many others expect the fare hike to go through, it does not mean we agree with it on principal. If you are looking at it from a numbers perspective, a 25 cent increase does not sound like a big deal. However if you clearly examine how riders put up with inferior conditions, equipment, & service, it becomes clear as day why a fare hike is considered so undesirable.

The fact is the cost of traveling all over NYC on the subway is a steal. However one other fact is quite clear. We the riding public continued to get shafted year after year in terms of a properly functioned transit system. All because we get a great price does not mean we should put up with degrading equipment, stations that fall apart, officials who waste our money, among other things.

We are being treated as second class citizens by an agency who needs us to survive. Last I check, they should be doing whatever it takes to satisfy us if they want to stay afloat. Unfortunately many riders have the testicular fortitude to complain to they are blue in the face but lack the same testicular fortitude to demand changes & fair services/treatment from the MTA.

I sincerely hope that these upcoming hearings will serve as the continuation of change. I hope that we as a riding public are starting to mature & stand up for what we believe in. Blogs such as this one, Second Avenue Sagas, & Subway Blogger should not be the only lines of defense for the riding public. 3 individuals can only do so much to help our cause. Instead of complaining until you are blue in the face, join us & take a stand against the unjust service & treatment we as commuters deal with year in & year out!

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