MTA Fares Rise, Commuter Morale Falls

March may come in like a lion and go out like a lamb, but for many New York Metropolitan area commuters, March is bringing something different: a new transit fare increase.

Starting in March, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will be hiking its fares for all its passengers on most of its subsidiaries, including the Long Island Railroad. According to an MTA press release, the base fare for the subway and bus services will be increased by 25 cents to $2.75 for single-use riders while the 30-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard will be bumped up to $116.50 and the 7-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard to $31.

LIRR commuters will not be left out of the MTA’s latest efforts to balance its budget. Weekly and monthly LIRR tickets will increase by 4.25 percent, leaving frequent commuters either feeling down about the hike or embracing it as a necessary evil.

Stony Brook Station

 For the fifth time in almost a decade, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority proposed to raise fares across all of its subsidiaries, including the Long Island Railroad. The fare increase, which takes effect on March 22, 2015, will raise by as much as 6.1 percent for LIRR customers. Photo by Melissa Cheri (Feb. 25, 2015)
For the fifth time in almost a decade, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority proposed to raise fares across all of its subsidiaries, including the Long Island Railroad. The fare increase, which takes effect on March 22, 2015, will raise by as much as 6.1 percent for LIRR customers. Photo by Melissa Cheri (Feb. 25, 2015)”
Damon Graziano, a freshman studying health science at Stony Brook University, is not a frequent commuter but needs to be able to get home if need be. The fare increase does not effect this particular trip home, nor will it in the future when the fare takes effect in March, he said. Graziano added for a student traveling only once-in-a-while, it doesn't bother him to pay a little bit more. "It doesn’t hurt because it is already so cheap to go home,” he said. After buying a $5.25 single-use ticket to Hicksville transferring at Huntington Station, Graziano, a resident at the university, waited to board the 4:19 p.m. train on Wednesday, Feb. 25 for a routine doctor's appointment.  Photo by JD Allen.
Damon Graziano, a freshman studying health science at Stony Brook University, is not a frequent commuter but needs to be able to get home if need be. The fare increase does not effect this particular trip home, nor will it in the future when the fare takes effect in March, he said. Graziano added for a student traveling only once-in-a-while, it doesn’t bother him to pay a little bit more. “It doesn’t hurt because it is already so cheap to go home,” he said. After buying a $5.25 single-use ticket to Hicksville transferring at Huntington Station, Graziano, a resident at the university, waited to board the 4:19 p.m. train on Wednesday, Feb. 25 for a routine doctor’s appointment. Photo by JD Allen
Approximately 60 percent of Stony Brook University students are daily commuters, according to the university's Office of Institutional Research. University students share the train with east-end workers heading home, and unlike Graziano not everyone is so keen on the impending increase. Photo by Melissa Cheri (Feb. 25, 2015).
Approximately 60 percent of Stony Brook University students are daily commuters, according to the university’s Office of Institutional Research. University students share the train with east-end workers heading home, and unlike Graziano not everyone is so keen on the impending increase. Photo by Melissa Cheri (Feb. 25, 2015)
For these commuters, many of whom may be traveling as far west as Pennsylvania Station, this is one of 14 trains available. Many of them traveling westbound may stop at one of two major hubs -- Huntington Station and Jamaica Station -- on their way home. Photo by JD Allen (Feb. 25, 2015).
For these commuters, many of whom may be traveling as far west as Pennsylvania Station, this is one of 14 trains available. Many of them traveling westbound may stop at one of two major hubs — Huntington Station and Jamaica Station — on their way home. Photo by JD Allen (Feb. 25, 2015)

Jamaica Station

Brentwood resident Matthew Stuart, 35, said that the fare increase will likely make him more cognizant of how he travels. "I think that it will make me a little bit more mindful of travels, but unfortunately, you have to take the train into the city on most occasions," Stuart said. Photo by Melissa Cheri (Feb. 28, 2015)
Brentwood resident Matthew Stuart, 35, said that the fare increase will likely make him more cognizant of how he travels. “I think that it will make me a little bit more mindful of travels, but unfortunately, you have to take the train into the city on most occasions,” Stuart said. Photo by Melissa Cheri (Feb. 28, 2015)
Jamaica station is a highly-trafficked hub for the LIRR.  With 10 of the 11 branches stopping here, customers can change trains for connections to other branches. Photo by Melissa Cheri (Feb. 28, 2015)
Jamaica station is a highly-trafficked hub for the LIRR. With 10 of the 11 branches stopping here, customers can change trains for connections to other branches. Photo by Melissa Cheri (Feb. 28, 2015)
Fay Parris -- who lives in Queens, but regularly takes both the Long Island Railroad and the New York City subway -- said she is unsure of how the MTA fare increase will impact her. "I haven't given it that much thought.  But when it happens, I would really have to take stock," Parris said. " Since it is affecting both--I would just have to make some very wise decisions in terms of how and when I travel." Photo by Melissa Cheri (Feb. 28, 2015)
Fay Parris — who lives in Queens, but regularly takes both the Long Island Railroad and the New York City subway — said she is unsure of how the MTA fare increase will impact her. “I haven’t given it that much thought. But when it happens, I would really have to take stock,” Parris said. ” Since it is affecting both–I would just have to make some very wise decisions in terms of how and when I travel.” Photo by Melissa Cheri (Feb. 28, 2015)
"The Stony Brook stop on the Port Jefferson branch is regularly utilized by the campus community, both students and faculty alike," Emily Resnick assistant director of the Commuter Student Services and Off-Campus Living, said. Commuters from New York's boroughs are bound to stop at Jamaica Station and Huntington Station for transfers to adjacent branches. The price increases from major rail hub to hub, so commuters traveling greater distances will pay greater fares. Photo by Melissa Cheri (Feb. 28, 2015)
“The Stony Brook stop on the Port Jefferson branch is regularly utilized by the campus community, both students and faculty alike,” Emily Resnick, assistant director of the Commuter Student Services and Off-Campus Living, said. Commuters from New York’s boroughs are bound to stop at Jamaica Station and Huntington Station for transfers to adjacent branches. The price increases from major rail hub to hub, so commuters traveling greater distances will pay greater fares. Photo by Melissa Cheri (Feb. 28, 2015)

Huntington Station

Robert Federici, an employee at Fairfield Mortgage and a monthly-pass buyer, said his four- or five-day commute via LIRR to Penn Station from Huntington will have him feel the pinch in his pocket. The increase in fares cannot be legitimized, he added. if there is not a clear reason for the increase. Federici said he is tired of “the MTA squeezing commuters for money every couple of years," especially when there is no clear commuter-gain from it. Photo by JD Allen (March 2, 2015)
Robert Federici, an employee at Fairfield Mortgage and a monthly-pass buyer, said his four- or five-day commute via LIRR to Penn Station from Huntington will have him feel the pinch in his pocket. The increase in fares cannot be legitimized, he added. if there is not a clear reason for the increase. Federici said he is tired of “the MTA squeezing commuters for money every couple of years,” especially when there is no clear commuter-gain from it. Photo by JD Allen (March 2, 2015)
Frank Calderon moved to Long Island from Queens in 2009. When he lived in one of New York's most populated boroughs, Calderon thought his daily commute on the Long Island Railroad was going to be a lot like his previous journey on Metro-North, but that was not the case, he said. “I came here and I assumed the LIRR was a pretty stable and reliable transportation, but that is not the case,” Calderon said. “I never experienced a railroad with so many delays.” Calderon, an IT-worker at a financial-services firm, refused to be photographed because of strict company-media relation policies. Photo by JD Allen (March 2, 2015)
Frank Calderon moved to Long Island from Queens in 2009. When he lived in one of New York’s most populated boroughs, Calderon thought his daily commute on the Long Island Railroad was going to be a lot like his previous journey on Metro-North, but that was not the case, he said. “I came here and I assumed the LIRR was a pretty stable and reliable transportation, but that is not the case,” Calderon said. “I never experienced a railroad with so many delays.” Calderon, an IT-worker at a financial-services firm, refused to be photographed because of strict company-media relation policies. Photo by JD Allen (March 2, 2015)
Traveling by rail, by bike, by subway car or taxi, Calderon said he makes his daily commute from Huntington Station to the Downtown Manhattan financial district in approximately 2-hours -- often making his journey a total of 4-hours, round-trip at a TransitPass-discounted rate of $300 per month. Every day is a frustrating battle, he said. The LIRR, he added, just has too few rail cars available, especially during peak hours -- often leaving commuters standing in the isle. Combined with the pay increase and frequent delays, Calderon said “it is frustrating to say the least.” Photo by JD Allen (March 2, 2015)
Traveling by rail, by bike, by subway car or taxi, Calderon said he makes his daily commute from Huntington Station to the Downtown Manhattan financial district in approximately 2-hours — often making his journey a total of 4-hours, round-trip at a TransitPass-discounted rate of $300 per month. Every day is a frustrating battle, he said. The LIRR, he added, just has too few rail cars available, especially during peak hours — often leaving commuters standing in the isle. Combined with the pay increase and frequent delays, Calderon said “it is frustrating to say the least.” Photo by JD Allen (March 2, 2015)
"“I feel like I am being nickled and dimed,” Calderon said. Photo by JD Allen (March 2, 2015)
““I feel like I am being nickled and dimed,” Calderon said. Photo by JD Allen (March 2, 2015)
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8 thoughts on “MTA Fares Rise, Commuter Morale Falls

  1. Great article! I think the fare increase sucks! Any increase primarily impacts people who can least afford to spend more on their commute – including students, under – and unemployed individuals. This is a temporary solution because the MTA will still have a deficit and increase fares in another few years!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have survived many fare increases, but there is little, if any substantive change. This isn’t London, for example, with impeccable stations and service. I shudder to think of where this is headed. I don’t particularly mind high fares, but give us some value. Thanks for piping in, amiga.

      Like

  2. I’m not sure this addresses any actual issues the MTA faces. However, given what it would cost to drive and park in the city it still seems affordable. But I don’t think MTA is thinking long term.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never lived in this area; actually I’ve never lived in the north east. However, I don’t believe that it is a prerequisite to have an opinion on this situation. I grew up in Europe so public transportation is nothing new for me. In my opinion the fare hike poses a couple debatable issue. There are two basis reasons why people choose pubic transportation: saving money and saving time.

    For those individuals who chose public transportation for financial reasons, the fare increase is a major set back. Most of those individuals are already on a very tight budget. Even a seemingly insignificants fare hike of $0.25 may ruin such individual’s budget (daily round trip would result in a roughly $15.00 increase in monthly budget.).
    For many people, especially students, $15.00 is half of their weekly grocery budget.

    The delayed train schedule poses is a significant problem for those who choose public transportation to save unproductive time behind the wheel and parking fees. However, since many of the trains are overcrowded and regularly run behind the schedule, the aimed for benefit is not only lost, but also creates risks of missing important meetings or being perceived as an unreliable employee.

    However, no matter what is the reason and consequences of choosing public transportation, the fare hike is a result of the problem which cannot be fixed by fare hike and should not be shifted to the customers. It appears that this is recurring problem and its solution is frequently shifted to the customer. It is clear that MTA has a budget issues that need to be addressed and resolved internally, not shifted to the customers. Putting a “band aid” over a serious “infection” is not going to cure and permanently fix the real cause of the “infection”.

    I am very impressed with the way this article is written. It provides the facts and leaves the conclusions to the reader. The photos capture the essence of the story, give it a human face and make it very powerful! Excellent job!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t ride the subway all that often, but do feel that the fare hike is completely unnecessary especially when the service for both the MTA and LIRR could be improved!

    Liked by 1 person

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