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Weekend fare hikes on trains, buses rankle riders

The Metro-North train station in Yonkers. (Nov. 5,

The Metro-North train station in Yonkers. (Nov. 5, 2012) Photo Credit: Faye Murman

Train and bus riders grumbled Sunday as fare increases went into effect this weekend on the Metro-North Commuter Railroad, New York City subways and Westchester County Bee-Line bus services.

"Salaries are not going up, but everything else is going up," said Eileen Johnston of Mount Vernon as she braved a frigid wind while exiting the Metro-North Beacon train station.

MetroCard fares for all the systems increased by 25 cents to $2.50 per ride Sunday. Thirty-day unlimited cards are $112, an $8 hike from the previous fare of $104, and seven-day unlimited passes are up a dollar to $30.

Tolls for bridges and tunnels operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority also have increased: It now costs $7.50 to cross most of them ($5.33 for E-ZPass users).

The MTA is projecting a $450 million increase in revenues from the fare hikes. The move comes on the heels of Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road fare hikes, which went into effect Friday.

"It is crazy," said Carilin Gonzalez of Yonkers as she waited for a Westchester County Bee-Line bus at Getty Square in Yonkers. Gonzalez uses the bus to commute to work and, on her one day off Sunday, she takes the service to visit her niece.

"It's too much," Gonzalez said. "I remember when I used to pay only $1.75."

The MTA fare increase is the fourth hike approved by the agency's board in the past five years and does not appear to be the last in the near future. Another fare hike, designed to raise an additional 7.5 percent in revenue, is scheduled for 2015.

Changes to the MTA's fares aren't all bad news for riders, who will see new discounts for military personnel, additional breaks for families and easier ways to pay tolls. The MTA also will offer 5 percent bonuses for MetroCard purchases as low as $5.

With Luke Hammill

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