MTA passes fare hikes

The Metropolitan Transit Authority has just passed its “doomsday budget” that will include fare hikes, toll increases and service cutbacks.

The changes headed our way are:

  • Starting May 31, subway and bus fares will be $2.50 and the 30-day cards will be $103, up from $81.
  • As for service cuts, 35 bus routes will be eliminated and two subway routes, the W and Z. Off-peak and weekend subway, bus and commuter rail service will also be cut.
  • Commuter rail fares will increase on June 1, and bridge and tunnel tolls will increase in mid-July.

How is Brooklyn Heights affected? Like this:

The proposal also calls for shutting the full-time booth at the High Street A- and C-train station, near Red Cross Place, in Downtown; and the Montague Street entrance to the Court Street M and R station.

There are also several part-time booths that will be cut entirely, including booths at:

• the Metrotech end of the A, C and F station at Jay Street in Downtown;

• the west side of Flatbush Avenue entrance to the Bergen Street 2, 3 station;

• the southbound F and G station entrance at Bergen Street;

• the northbound entrance to the Carroll Street F- and G-train station, along the northbound platform at President Street;

• the entrance to the Borough Hall 2, 3, 4 and 5 trains at Court and Joralemon streets.

At least one full-time attendant will still be in each station — though sometimes in stations with no northbound-southbound transfer.

Bus changes include:

The MTA plans to scratch three bus routes including the B37, which runs from Bay Ridge through Gowanus and Boerum Hill before arriving in Downtown Brooklyn; the B39, which runs from the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge across the river to the Lower East Side of Manhattan; and the B75, which runs from Windsor Terrace through Park Slope, Gowanus, Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill before reaching Downtown Brooklyn.

The votes came as Albany lawmakers were locked in a stalemate to find any alternative solution, and the MTA said it had to vote soon so it could begin instituting the changes. According to the Times, should Albany work out a solution, the MTA has said it could reverse the changes.

UPDATE2: NYS Senator Daniel Squadron released this statement, below. We followed up and asked him what he’s doing in Albany about this issue to make sure something is done, and we’ll update the statement as needed.

“The fare hikes and service cuts that the MTA Board approved today are disastrous; if they take effect, life will get a whole lot tougher for all New Yorkers.  We in state government must come together to prevent devastating fare hikes and service cuts, create a funding stream for the MTA’s capital needs, increase the MTA’s transparency, and strengthen oversight of the agency.  Our city lives and dies with our transit system; if the buses and trains don’t run, neither can New York.”

UPDATE: Borough President Marty Markowitz sent out his statement, and has some strong words to say about the whole situation:

I am extremely disappointed that today, against the best interests of hardworking New Yorkers, the MTA Board approved its draconian budget imposing steep fare hikes and severe service cuts. I am angry that the state legislature, after months of hearing testimony and suggestions for alternative funding, including a plan by the senate majority, failed to reach a decision on how to rescue the MTA from its fiscal crisis. Clearly a large amount of blame falls on the Ravitch Commission’s strict and exclusive promotion of inequitable bridge tolls. This Commission was formed to explore the viability of all sources of revenue for mass transit. Instead, its findings deadlocked the debate by insisting that imposing tolls, at the exclusion of all other possible funding options, was the only way to raise the revenue sufficient enough to ward off these fare hikes and service cuts.

No one is questioning the reality that we need to identify funding sources to close the MTA and City’s growing budget gaps in these challenging economic times, but placing the burden unfairly on the backs of hard-working Brooklynites and the City’s straphangers and bus riders is simply not the answer. I remain confident that the state legislature will come up with the funding necessary to prevent the service cuts, fare hikes and unfair tolls on our bridges.”

From the elimination of M and Z subway service in Brooklyn, the truncating of the G train’s reach into Queens, the cutback in late night service on the N train in Downtown Brooklyn, cuts in weekend bus service on the X27 and X28, drastic reductions in regular bus service—including the full elimination of the B23, B25, B37, B39, B51 and B75—and service cuts on more than two dozen other bus routes, not to mention the decreased security from fewer station attendants and the increase in waiting times, Brooklynites will take a disproportionate hit and unfairly shoulder the burden of the City’s mass transportation woes. And unfortunately, the MTA fare hike and service cuts won’t take the prospect of East River and Harlem River bridge tolls off the table. The plan put forth by the senate majority offered solutions to the MTA’s budget woes without imposing these discriminatory ‘taxes’ on drivers who use the spans, three of which are in Brooklyn. Bridge tolls are nothing more than a ‘backdoor’ to congestion pricing, and the fact they would ‘only’ be $2 is not much of an argument. We all know that the next ‘doomsday’ budget will raise it to $4, then $6—where does it end?

Throughout this process, I have repeatedly offered alternative ideas for raising revenue, including a modest gas tax that spreads the burden to all 12 MTA counties, rather than tolls, which target residents from just four counties, including Brooklyn. I have also suggested the restoration of the long overdue commuter tax, linking auto registration fees to a car’s size and model type, a special state lottery and an extension of the car registration surcharge now imposed in New York City to the entire MTA region. And the MTA must change from within by cutting its own waste and mismanagement and selling off property and holdings it doesn’t need, such as 370 Jay Street. But so far, these are other viable proposals have been ignored.

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  • brooklynite

    the elimination of the b75 really stinks. it was a nice option to have when the F train was messed up. A lot of old and disabled people used that bus to get around as well. This is ridiculous.

  • Mike

    For all of the wonderful things that heve been posted on this blog about our elected officials, how come NOTHING has been said about our current Democratic majority in Albany that can’t seem to pass a bill to rescue the MTA and avoid the fare hikes and service cuts?

    Even Sheldon Silver is for a package to help the MTA, but everyone in albany is arguing about bridge tolls. Just add tolls on the East River bridges and improve subway service with the revenue. We pretend to be a “green” city, but still, like every other city, we continue to favor cars at the expense of all other methods of transport.

    We should demand an explanation from all those we have sent to Albany.

  • Peter

    Look on the bright side, at least the subway rides are comfortable, the trains run on a timely schedule, and the platforms don’t smell like urine … oh wait, nevermind.

  • epc

    I blame alleged Democratic Senators Kruger, Diaz and Espada.
    I plan to respond the only way I know how, by funding and supporting anyone who challenges them in the next election, regardless of party.

  • epc

    I suppose a more immediate response would be to shut down the bridges at rush hour, but if people weren’t concerned enough to act before this I don’t see how you’d get enough people protesting to shut down one bridge let alone three or four.

  • Teddy

    I rarely use the bus, but I know people who work in the Heights & depend on the B75 to get home.

  • Nancy

    Maybe if they stopped giving Transit employees free passes to ride the subways, they wouldclose the gap.
    Why hasn’t the MTA been required to do an air quality study on the effect of putting those ridiculous tolls on the bridges? I am sure it would fail any pollution study.

  • Alan

    Nobody should be driving into Manhattan. There should be a $100 or more tax per trip tax imposed on any personal vehicles driving into Manhattan south of 125th street. There should be exemptions for cabs/limos, delivery vehicles (on which less severe tolls should be imposed) and public/emergency vehicles or vehicles driven by health care personnel for health care business.

  • PJL

    Ridiculous…. Which set of books is the MTA using this time??

  • ABC

    just about the most regressive tax possible

  • anon


  • my2cents

    In this instance, I can’t blame the MTA. I totally agree with Mike (your last name isn’t Bloomberg is it?): The fault lies in Albany and those jackasses up there who can’t get anything done. We should have had congestion pricing, but alas it would only have increased the burden on the MTA system, which may not have helped keep the fares lower after all. More riders doesn’t necessarily mean the added revenue with outstrip the new burden. Well, it’s still cheaper to ride the subway here than in almost any other first world metropolis. London was like over 4 dollars to ride.

  • nate

    fare cards are the new I-pods, keep them hidden. people with monthly cards should really watch it.

  • Bart

    So we’ll be shelling out 22 bucks extra a month. That sum is fairly insignificant.

    As for the removal of token booth clerks, I’m sure that after 20 years sitting working for the MTA, that received a paycheck that was far more than what they actually contributed to passengers and the system. At least it will get some of the dead wood.

    And as for service cuts, the MTA wisely recognizes that the most important people using the subway are those going to and from work. We generate the wealth in this city. So at least the MTA focusing on their most important customer.


  • Eddie The Eagle

    Shorter Bart: This doesn’t affect me. Screw the rest of you! Now where’s my taxpayer-sponsored bonus?

  • JM

    Seems like Bloomberg and Patterson are doing a good good of using this crisis to jam thru Bloomy’s unfair and regressive bridge tolls.
    Most in the media are not even asking the question”why are tolls the ONLY way to fill the revenue gap” But considering the Pravda like control Mayor Mike has in this town I’m not surprised.
    The dem assembly members being so maligned put forth a plan to avoid this hike AND the tolls but Patterson rejected w/out debtae. Why are those members being blame and not him?
    Why aren’t the mayeor and gov standing up to the MTA in the first place?
    As for Alan’s (above) ridiculous “nobody should be driving to manhattan”…say WHAT? Lemme guess Alan, you like to ride your bike and think the whole city should be 1 big bike path right?
    Give me beak. What about people who aren’t physically able to walk to/from the subway, climb stars etc? People who car pool?
    This city has always been able to accommodate cars, pedestrians and bikes. All of a sudden under Bloomy we are in congestion crises mode so he can ram these tolls and taxes down our throats? Don’t fall for it. I’ve been driving in this town for 20 years and traffic isn’t al that much worse than when I arrived. What HAS made it worse is the choke points Bloomy’s created by eliminating 1-2 lanes from major streets like Bwy for bike and buss lanes, building construction sites being allowed to close entire lanes for months at a time and virtually NO intersection traffic control anymore.

  • MM

    Regarding the shutting of the full time booth at the Red Cross side of the A/C High St. stop, does anyone know if this means shutting the entrance all together or just the booth? This stop doesn’t have the high turnstiles which usually means that unless there’s someone in the booth the entrance would be closed. This would be a major inconvenience and basically strand all those who live in Concord Village, parts of DUMBO and that side of the bridge. The other entrance is quite far and difficult to get to from this side, especially if it eliminates the ability to use the entrance to go under the access to the bridge rather than the intersection of Tillary and Adams.

  • Sarah Portlock

    From what I understand, the cuts at the A/C train Red Cross station are just employee-based; the MTA isn’t closing the entire station entrance

  • epc

    I think we’re just screwed, stuck with subsidizing the road network while any chance to use tax dollars to subsidize the mass transit system gets labelled as socialist.

    Dear drivers: here’s an idea: pay 100% of the road maintenance costs, and then we’ll talk about your whining over east river bridge tolls. Hell, pay even 50% of the costs. Currently gas and other road taxes pay for less than a third of road maintenance costs, the rest being picked up by us stupid mass-transit taking taxpayers.

  • cv

    The Presidents/Boards/Students/Parents-of-Students of NYU/Poly should get actively involved now if they care about the safety of the students who need to use the Metrotech subway entrance, as well as the subways on Montague, to get anywhere — and, unlike working commuters — they will be traveling at all hours. It is unsafe, and unfair to them (and to all the others who live/work nearby, and who keep the MTA afloat during so-called “off hours,” including weekends). It’s bad enough the Jay/Tillary and Jay/Adams crossings are among the most dangerous in the city, which the college students must use in order to get to their classes and dorms, but now to have college students using unguarded subway entrances/exits … It’s very frightening. The entire college community should get involved, as well as all the rest of us who use High Street, Metrotech, Montague Street, travel by bus to Park Slope, etc.

  • MM

    Sarah P: Everything does seem to indicate it is just getting rid of the employee who works in the booth; however, I think that it is MTA policy that at entrances without a person in the booth & without the high revolving door style turnstiles rather than the typical turnstiles the entrance is closed. It’s the reason a lot of entrances, etc.. are closed during off hours & the reason for the green or red globes, etc… The Red Cross side of the High St station does not have the high turnstiles, that’s what makes me wonder whether they may close the entrance or perhaps they will just install the high turnstiles. I hadn’t heard anything one way or the other, that’s why I was wondering if anyone else had heard anything specific.

  • Rochdalian


    The deficit is $1.2 billion dollars. How much do you think taking passes away from Transit employees is going to help?

    Beyond that, you’re going to charge people for riding the system to do their jobs?

  • Sue

    Bart, paying an extra $22/month may not be a burden to you. It sounds as though you work conventional business hours, so the cuts don’t affect you so much. I imagine that a food service employee or home health aide who works an afternoon or evening shift, making minimum wage, might feel differently–but of course those are not the “important”customers.

  • Nancy

    Oh please, why should they get the perk of riding for free? No other City or State workers do that. It the height of arrogance that they get this benefit; for what reason?? Everyone rides the systtem to do their job; maybe we should all ride for free. And I do not believe that the gap is that large. Every year they have a different number. What really bothers me is that people making these decisions have no connection with the subway system. None of them ride the trains. I agree, cut back on the projects like the LIRR to Grand Central.
    Now they want an exrta tax on people making over 300K a year. We will take everyone who we claim is so wealthy that they will have no money left.

  • HappyDogNyc

    Why does the MTA always claim they are broke? Since moving to Brooklyn in 2001 the most noticeable changes in the subway system seem to be the elimination of tellers, the elimination of the tokens, and the fare hikes soon to be up to $2.50. I remember when the MTA was caught a few years ago keeping two sets of books, one to display to the public and the media, and the other a secret version showing the MTA had a surplus of cash. In this new economy we cannot continue to fund this type of ruthless corruption. It only takes a few minutes to jot off an email or write a letter to your local congressman and/or senator. In this way you can do more in a few minutes than you could through years of complaining to people that cannot do anything about it.

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    What’s BHB’s policy on posters such as the above who, while possibly providing legitimate comment content, or possibly providing a ruse to huck their company, or both, blatantly advertise their Website through links underneath their comments or in the name field?

    If it’s wide open, I’d like to start advertising my amature porn site I’m making a killing in Google AdWords!