MTA chief: Fare, toll hike plan in place for next year

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SYOSSET -

MTA Board Chairman Joe Lhota said Wednesday that plans to go forward with a fare and toll increase next year are still very much in place.

"When I was up in Albany last week, it was restated to me that there would be a fare and toll increase every other year, and I don't see a change in that at the present time," he said.

It's unclear how much the fare increase would be.

MTA board member Mitch Pally has been a staunch critic of the fare hike plan.

"We cannot increase our fares next December…We cannot do it," he told News 12. "In these times of difficulty with the system, to ask our riders to pay more now, in my opinion, would be a grievous mistake."

The Long Island Rail Road’s most recent overall customer satisfaction rating of 77 percent was the lowest since the railroad began using the scoring system nine years ago. January was the LIRR's worst for on-time performance in 22 years, according to the railroad's "Train Talk" newsletter. 

A Performance Improvement Plan released by the railroad on Monday laid out more than 60 initiatives needed to reverse its current issues.

Riders like Abe Polakunnio, of Syosset, say it doesn't matter if they agree with an increase or not.

"Even though I'm not a fan of the increase, I still need this train,” said Polakunnio.

A vote on the increase won’t be held until December.

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