LIRR riders respond to the MTA price hike
Commuters in Mineola, Hicksville and Ronkonkoma waiting for trains Thursday were feeling left out in the cold by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority fare hike.
The increase, approved by the MTA board in October, raised LIRR fares from 7.6 percent to 9.4 percent and was part of a plan to plug the agency's mammoth $900-million operating deficit. Other hikes were applied to MetroCards, bus fares and bridge and tunnel tolls.
Here's what riders had to say:
Irnande Altema, 25, is a Hofstra University law student who commutes during the week from her home in Uniondale to an internship in Manhattan.
"It adds up," she said. "When you're not working and you're trying to make sure you have a place in your career."
Siv Araman, 68, is a consultant from Port Jefferson and takes the train into Penn Station several times a month.
"It's pathetic," Araman said. "This is the worst train service we have in the United States. . . . They have to improve the system," he said.
Tao Lacoude, 58, of Uniondale, commutes from the Mineola station six days a week to get to his job at Meyers Parking in Manhattan.
"You can't do nothing," he said. "You got to deal with it, you need your job."
Carol Celestine, 24, of Hempstead, was a bit surprised by the fare increase when she purchased her round-trip ticket to Manhattan.
"They just hiked up the fare about a year ago and now they're hiking it up again," she said. "It just seems like MTA mismanagement to me and we're paying for it."
Coancita Britto, 42, of Mineola, said she feels like she's being nickel-and-dimed and double-slammed by hikes on both the LIRR and the city subway system.
"I don't raise my price, I'm a freelancer," she said, "I cannot do anything, but I have to pay more to get to my students."