Port Washington Long Island Rail Road MTA station. (April 2,...

Port Washington Long Island Rail Road MTA station. (April 2, 2012) Credit: Chris Ware

MTA chairman Joseph Lhota suggested Monday that transit users could expect a 25-cent hike in the cost of a bus or subway ride as part of the agency's planned fare and toll increases.

Lhota said during an interview on the John Gambling radio show that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's planned increases in March would "probably" include an increase in New York City Transit's base fare of $2.25.

The MTA last week released several options for increasing fares on subways and buses. Some of the plans leave the $2.25 fare in place, but reduce or eliminate the 7 percent discount on MetroCards costing $10 or more and increase the cost of a 30-day unlimited-use MetroCard by as much as 20 percent.

Other plans would increase the base fare to $2.50, but hold increases on unlimited MetroCards to as little as 5 percent, going from the current price of $104 to $109.

Lhota said raising the base fare would "minimize the increase" for most riders. MTA officials have said that about 13 percent of riders actually pay $2.25 for a subway or bus ride. The vast majority use discounted fares.

"If it [the base fare] doesn't go up, it will have a huge impact on the number of people who take the monthly passes and discounted fares," Lhota said.

The MTA will hold several public hearings before voting on a plan in December. The only hearing on Long Island is Nov. 7 at Farmingdale State College.

Gene Russianoff, spokesman for the Straphangers Campaign, which advocates for transit riders, said he was concerned the MTA appeared to be favoring one plan before the hearings.

"The process can have an impact on their choices," Russianoff said. "Who knows what people are going to tell them?"

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