Straphangers seemingly inured to MTA fare hikes and price increases
Waddaya gonna do?
Fatalistic resignation was the overwhelming refrain of strap hangers to the news that fare hikes of 25 cents on a single ride to $2.50, a $1 increase on the weekly card to $30, and an $8 increase on a monthly card to $112, were likely in the works.
Straphangers want more transparency from the MTA about what their dollars are used for, but their squeals of pain were surprisingly subdued.
Small, frequent fare hikes are shrewd and strategic, riders agreed, designed to dampen protest and disguise pocketbook impact. (The MTA says the numbers released are premature and the board will not have a final vote on the new prices -- scheduled to go into effect March 1 -- until Dec. 19.)
The fare is fair, declared Alicia Skovera, 39, who commutes to midtown from Prospect Heights. "We never want our transportation costs to go up, but as a lifelong New Yorker, I've seen the service improve, and our costs are reasonable, compared to other cities," said the program director for a nonprofit.
"There's nothing you can do about it. It's still cheaper than bringing a car into the city," said Adam Samama, 28, an electrician who lives in Gerritsen Beach and considers his bus and B-Train ride each morning a bargain.
"It's supply and demand: They supply the transportation and demand we pay more money. You can't fight it!" said a resigned Solomon Israilov, 22, a porter who commutes to midtown from Elmhurst.
The increase is arriving at an inopportune time for Nina Grigoriev, 31, who had just elected to set aside tax-free money from her salary for 2013 in a commuter benefits program administered by her employer. The Park Slope communications specialist spoke for many strap hangers when she said the fare hike was reasonable, but complained that "the only time the MTA communicates is when there are power outages or fare hikes. There is a complete lack of public discourse about where the money goes or what it's used for."
"No one would have an issue if they showed us where it was going," concurred Joseph Medrano, 32, a regional sales rep from Corona frustrated by overcrowded trains and buses during rush hour.
Ever higher prices are simply a New York fact of life, reminded Samama. "It's how they get you," said Samama. "A 25 cent hike for one ride doesn't seem like a lot, but by the end of the year, it adds up."