MTA fare hikes have students concerned

The recent Metropolitan Transit Authority fare hike has hit many St. John’s students where it hurts – in the pocketbook. Commuters make up about 80 percent of the student population.

“I work,” said freshman commuter Leneli Liggayu, “and to pull another $5 out of my paycheck is hard.”

The MTA Board approved the fare hike in Dec. 2007 and it went into effect March 2, 2008. The money is expected to generate a 3.85 percent revenue increase for the MTA.
The new fares affect the MTA New York City Transit and MTA Long Island Buses. Although the base fare for buses is still $2, the price of the unlimited Metro Cards has risen.

Those who purchase the seven-day or weekly unlimited pass will now pay $25 instead of $24, and the 30-day unlimited pass will cost $81 instead of $76. A new 14-day pass will cost $47.

While Metro Cards formerly had a bonus of $2, the bonus now will be only $1.74, which is not enough to pay for an extra ride.

Former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer announced that the MTA updated budget found an extra $220 million due to increased ridership and increased real estate tax revenue, and as a result, allowed the base fare to remain at $2 instead of going up to $2.25, according to a Dec. 2007 NY Daily News article.

In addition to the changes made to the price of the unlimited Metro Cards, those who take commuter railroads, such as the Long Island Railroad and Metro North, will see an increase in fare of about four percent on monthly passes and seven percent on weekly passes.

Also, those driving into Manhattan will have an increase in tolls of about 3.8 percent. The fare on the Verrazano Bridge has increased by a dollar and the EZ Pass toll is up by 30 cents.

Commuter students seemed to have mixed feelings about the increased fares and tolls.

“We have to adapt to it,” said sophomore commuter Murielle Bernard.

Bernard, who says she usually buys the monthly pass, said she will start buying the weekly pass since it is only a dollar more expensive, compared to the $5 extra she would have to pay for the new monthly pass.

Another student, Tiffany Bartholomew said, “I live in the Bronx and even though I dorm the fare hike still affects us, those who aren’t used to it, we take the trains or buses too.”

She added, “When I take the train it is hard to always have to be buy the unlimited card each time. If I buy the minimum $2.00 card it will not last me very long.”