Bay Ridge resident tells MTA, ‘New Yorkers deserve a break’
Quaglione testifies against transit fare hike
Calling the proposed transit fare increase proposal “absurd,” a Bay Ridge resident who testified at an MTA hearing suggested that the agency scrap the controversial plan and concentrate instead on improving service on the city’s buses and subways.
John Quaglione was among scores of Brooklyn residents who testified at an MTA hearing on the proposed fare hike at Brooklyn College on Dec. 19.
“Quite simply put, New Yorkers deserve a break this year and should not be subject to yet another fare and toll increase to use our subways, buses, bridges and tunnels. It seems to me that almost every time you turn around, fares hikes are on the horizon, but service improvements are much slower to go into effect,” Quaglione testified. “I believe that many New Yorkers would be more adaptable to paying more if they felt that service has improved.”
Quaglione, a Republican-Conservative who is considering running for term-limited democrat Vincent Gentile’s City Council seat in 2017, called on the MTA to take a closer look at its service record. “I think the time has come for a thorough review of service and cost. This analysis will allow for the MTA to better judge attempts to raise fares and tolls. Until such is complete and an explanation to the commuters of why the MTA warrants the additional funds, all increases should be stalled,” he said.
The Brooklyn hearing was one in a series of hearings held by the MTA to garner public opinion on proposed bus and subway fare increases.
The MTA has put forth two possible plans. Under Plan A, transit fares would remain at $2.75 per ride, but the bonus for buying a MetroCard of at least $5.50 would be reduced. Riders currently receive an 11 percent bonus on their MetroCards. Plan A would offer a five percent bonus. Under Plan B, the fare would go up to $3 and riders would receive a 16 percent bonus for purchasing a MetroCard of at least $5.50.
The amount riders would pay for a seven-day unlimited ride MetroCard and a 30-day card would be the same under both Plan A and Plan B. Seven-day MetroCards would go up from $31 to $32 and monthly MetroCards would increase from $116.50 to $121.
In a press release issued at the time the fare hike proposals were made public, MTA officials stated that the agency’s efforts to keep costs down means that the increases would be the lowest since 2009.
Just over half of the MTA’s $15.6 billion annual operating budget comes from fares and tolls, according the agency.
“The MTA continues to keep its promise to make sure that fare and toll increases, while necessary to keep our system running, remain as low as possible and that they are done in as equitable a way as possible,” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said in a statement. “Fare and toll revenue cover just 51 percent the operating budget, which is why this modest increase is needed to ensure that subway, rail, bus and paratransit services continue to operate safely and reliably and to fuel the region’s economic and financial growth.”
Once the MTA approves the fare increase, the new fares are expected to take effect on March 19.
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