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

Oct 9 (Reuters) - New York's cash-hungry Metropolitan Transportation Authority is considering four different plans for bus and subway fare increases that would all raise $232 million a 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 card would rise to $34 from $29, according to the New York Daily News.

The MTA, the country's biggest mass transit system, runs New York City's buses, subways, commuter rail roads, and some major bridges and tunnels.

The financial strains confronting the authority include the spiraling costs of debt service and pension and health benefits for its workers. The financial plan it issued in July projected deficits for 2014 through 2016.

The authority plans to present its proposed fare hikes around 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 subway riders might lose some of the current discounts that cut the average cost of a ride to $1.63 from the $2.25 base fare.

The improving economy has increased ridership, leading the MTA to say it could delay next year's fare increases by 60 days until March 1. The authority plans to increase fares and tolls enough to raise an extra 7.5 percent of revenue in 2013 and 2015.

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

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

One plan would cut the MetroCard discount to 5 percent from 7 percent; the second proposal would eliminate the discount.

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

(Reporting by Joan Gralla; Editing by Jan Paschal)


Keywords: USA MTA FARES/