NY MTA may postpone 2013 fare hike by 60 days
July 19 |
July 19 (Reuters) - New York state's Metropolitan Transportation Authority might delay a planned fare and toll hike until March 1 from January 1, the chairman said on Thursday, noting subway and bus ridership is hitting highs not seen since the 1940s and 1950s.
"There's a generational movement going on," an MTA official told reporters. "The train is cool in a way it has never been before."
The authority, which runs the city's buses, subways, commuter rail roads and some major bridges and tunnels, plans to raise fares and tolls enough to increase revenue by 7.5 percent in 2013 and 2015.
On an annual basis, the planned hike will generate $450 million, said Chairman Joseph Lhota. The MTA's current budget is $12.6 billion, up from the 2011 total of $12.2 billion.
An improved economy boosted ridership but the additional traffic is also coming from a surge in weekend and off-peak riders, many of whom are healthcare and education workers, the official said. Both of those two sectors are fast-growing.
People "want to live in an urban area, close to work - and use transit at all hours, days and nights," the authority official said.
The pattern of travel also has shifted to include more trips between outer boroughs, or reverse commutes, instead of the traditional travel from the suburbs or outer boroughs to Manhattan.
The MTA is due to unveil new financial plans next week, and it will spend $29 million to restore some service cuts made in 2010, and add some new routes.
Lhota said he wanted to delay the fare and toll hikes as long as he could without doing "financial harm" to the MTA - and noted the extra 60 days also would protect the riding public. "We owe it to our riders to collect (the increase) when we absolutely need to collect it," he said.
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