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NY MTA weighs plans for fare hikes to raise $232 mln/yr - report

Oct 9 (Reuters) - New York's cash-hungry MetropolitanTransportation Authority is considering four different plans forbus and subway fare increases that would all raise $232 milliona year, a local newspaper said on Tuesday.

One plan would boost the cost of a one-month MetroCard to$125 from $104, while the price of an unlimited weekly fare cardwould rise to $34 from $29, according to the New York DailyNews.

The MTA, the country's biggest mass transit system, runs NewYork City's buses, subways, commuter rail roads, and some majorbridges and tunnels.

The financial strains confronting the authority include thespiraling costs of debt service and pension and health benefitsfor its workers. The financial plan it issued in July projecteddeficits for 2014 through 2016.

The authority plans to present its proposed fare hikesaround Oct. 15.

Asked about the Daily News report, an MTA spokesman said:"We cannot comment on the specifics outlined in the piece."

Last month, MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said bus and subwayriders might lose some of the current discounts that cut theaverage cost of a ride to $1.63 from the $2.25 base fare.

The improving economy has increased ridership, leading theMTA to say it could delay next year's fare increases by 60 daysuntil March 1. The authority plans to increase fares and tollsenough to raise an extra 7.5 percent of revenue in 2013 and2015.

Two of the plans the MTA is considering would raise the basefare by 25 cents to $2.50, the Daily News said, along with otherchanges the newspaper did not specify.

Two other plans would keep the current base fare for subwayand bus riders, it said.

One plan would cut the MetroCard discount to 5 percent from7 percent; the second proposal would eliminate the discount.

The cost of a weekly MetroCard would rise to $34 under thefirst plan or $32 under the second. A monthly fare card wouldcost either $125 or $119, the paper said.

(Reporting by Joan Gralla; Editing by Jan Paschal)

((Joan.Gralla@thomsonreuters.com))

Keywords: USA MTA FARES/