Thursday, October 02, 2014

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Hudson Valley

MTA passes fare hikes

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Albany/HV: MTA passes fare hikes
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The MTA approves its proposed toll and fare increases. Starting March 1st, most Metro North commuters will feel a hike somewhere between eight and ten percent. YNN's John Wagner spoke with Poughkeepsie riders reacting to the new rates.

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- When William Bednarski Jr. moved to the Hudson Valley, he paid $257 for a monthly ticket to Grand Central. Fifteen years later, he's facing a $486 fare to get to his job at Rockefeller Center.

"Pretty soon, everybody who moved here will have to move back to the city because you won't be able to afford to commute back and forth," said Bednarski, a Milton resident.

Thanks to yet another vote to raise rates, Hudson Valley riders should expect to pay an extra dollar or two on each one way Metro North ticket. Drivers in MTA tunnels and bridges must muster an extra fifty cents to two dollars for cash tolls. Subway fares jump a quarter. The pain is felt all around.

"Well how much is parking?” asked Jeanette Malicia, a Poughkeepsie resident. "How much are tolls? How much is it going to cost you to get there? I don't know if a car's going to be worth it either."

For New York City commuters like Bednarski, the ten percent increase on monthly passes will result in spending an extra $516 a year. Some can handle that, but others will be forced off the trains.

"Over time, it's just going to really hurt people's pockets, it's going to make people reluctant to take the train all the time," said James Murray, a regular commuter from upstate New York.

Most riders say there's nothing they can do to fight back.

"It's like a monopoly," said Bednarski. "They own everything now and you have to do what they say or you can't get back and forth to work."

"New York living, you kinda get used to that lifestyle in general so I think a lot of people will just end up sucking it up," said Murray.

One commuter even says he's happy with the rates.

"It's better for our society if we have more trains and fewer drivers, so you know I'm willing to pay what it costs to support that," said Josh Kotzin, a reverse commuter who works in Poughkeepsie while living in Manhattan.

But when it costs a whole week of work to pay for one month pass, Bednarski and other riders are going to think outside the train.

"My wife and I are thinking about going back to Queens and that's it," said Bednarski. "It's cheaper to go back there and save the money."

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