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Editorial: Riders hit by fare hike depending on Lhota

A Metro-North train arrives at the Tarrytown station.

A Metro-North train arrives at the Tarrytown station. (Nov. 12, 2012) Photo Credit: Faye Murman

Attention, please: The Metro-North Railroad fare increase will arrive right on time, and it isn't pretty.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Wednesday is expected to approve a jump of 15 percent for round-trip tickets and 8.5 percent for monthly fares.

It adds up to a hefty chunk of change for many families.

A monthly ticket on the Harlem line between White Plains and Grand Central Terminal, for example, will go from $229 to $249. Over on the New Haven line, a monthly pass from Rye to Grand Central will go from $247 to $269. And for those who use the subway when they reach New York City, the monthly MetroCard will rise from $104 to $112. So all told, monthly expenses will leap considerably.

What do we get in return?

We get a railroad trying hard to improve service and treat its riders with respect.

That's something.

Of course the railroad has its troubles. It relies on old tracks. It struggles to meet fast-growing pension expenses. It's vulnerable to storms like Sandy that in one swoop can make hash of operating budgets.

But under MTA chairman Joseph Lhota, the MTA has shown an impressive new commitment to aggressively addressing rider concerns. After Sandy, Lhota had the MTA up and running far faster than anyone expected.

If he can perform at that level in the tough realm of contract negotiations -- shaving pension costs here and cutting other expenses there -- riders will see an even better return on investment.

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