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LIRR fare hike begins Wednesday for daily tickets

Starting Wednesday, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad customers will pay about 10 percent more for daily tickets, as the first fare hike enacted by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to plug its $1.8-billion budget deficit takes effect.

Round-trip peak LIRR fares will increase by a range of 50 cents to $4 depending on the trip, and round-trip off-peak fares will increase by a range of 25 cents to $3.

Riders using monthly tickets will not see the new fares until they purchase a July pass, MTA officials said. The average LIRR commuter will pay an additional $21.50 a month for a monthly pass.

Across-the-board fare hikes begin on the MTA's buses and subways on June 28.

The 10 percent fare increase was part of the state Legislature's unprecedented $2.3-billion bailout of the MTA, whose board members had voted for a 23 percent fare revenue hike to help fill the agency's massive budget gap.

Under the bailout plan, additional fare increases of 7.5 percent will occur in both 2011 and 2013.

LIRR Commuters Council chairwoman Maureen Michaels said riders should not take solace in the fact that the fare hikes could have been far higher.

"Ten percent is a lot," Michaels said. "It should not be underestimated what that means for anyone who gets up and goes to work and is not getting a 10 percent increase in their salary."

MTA board member Mitchell Pally, of Stony Brook, said that, in exchange for riders' extra dollars, the LIRR is committed to providing "the best ride possible."

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