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A lot on new MTA chief's plate

Full service is expected to be restored for

Full service is expected to be restored for the Rockaways in mid-2013. (MTA / Leonard Wiggins) Credit: Full service is expected to be restored for the Rockaways in mid-2013. (MTA / Leonard Wiggins)

It may be a wild ride for the next MTA chief.

With MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota leaving his post at the end of the month as he considers a run for mayor, his yet-to-named successor will have to steer the agency through some big changes scheduled for 2013. Here is a look at what's planned for next year:

Finding a successor
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already started a nationwide search for someone to replace Lhota, though a spokesman for Cuomo didn't return a call to comment on when a successor would be chosen. In the interim, board member Fernando Ferrer will serve as acting chairman.

Fare hike
Before Lhota left, the agency approved a fare and toll hike. Starting in March, bus and subway fares will increase to $2.50 from $2.25; monthly MetroCards will cost $112, up $8. The MTA is also set to start charging an extra $1 if straphangers buy a new card instead of refilling their old one.Officials have planned to jack up fares every two years unless the agency gets more funding.

Added Service
Starting in January, the MTA will restore cuts it made to dozens of bus lines in 2010. On top of restorations (including the B39) and bus line extensions, the cash-strapped agency is set to create five new bus routes throughout the city beginning in September.

Bus riders should also be able to track all bus locations using the MTA's app, Bus Time, by the end of 2013.

Rockaway service returning after Sandy
Subway service in the Rockaways, which was wiped out during Superstorm Sandy, is expected to return in the middle of 2013, officials said.

The agency restored some subway service less than a week after the storm hit, and has slowly added back most service throughout the city since October.

Union negotiations
Contract talks between the MTA and the Transport Workers Union are expected to heat up after the New Year. Union workers have been without a contract since January, and the MTA's budget calls for three years of no pay raises, unless workers accept concessions to pay for them.

Fastrack moving outside midtown
The MTA is expanding Fastrack, its maintenance program that shuts down overnight service for a week, to upper Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens beginning in January.

Officials say it's faster, safer and cheaper to cancel trains along a section of a route for the repairs and maintenance.

More cell service underground
Cell service will expand to about 40 underground stations by the end of 2013, including at Times Square, Columbus Circle, Rockefeller Center and Lincoln Center.

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