LI Bus patrons: Hikes target lower-income riders

Long Island Bus riders will face some of the biggest rate hikes in the Metropolitan Transit Authority?s doomsday budget, if they go into effect May 31. Riders are facing a 75 percent fare hike and are

News 12 Staff

Mar 26, 2009, 11:47 PM

Updated 5,593 days ago

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Long Island Bus riders will face some of the biggest rate hikes in the Metropolitan Transit Authority?s doomsday budget, if they go into effect May 31.
Riders are facing a 75 percent fare hike and are often the people who can least afford it. On Wednesday, the MTA board voted to raise bus fares from $2 to $3.50 each way and to eliminate eight bus routes. ?It?s picking on the little guy because we are forced to take the bus, because I can?t afford a car,? says Dennis Jones, of Elmont. Jones commutes by bus to NUMC in East Meadow where he works as an overnight maintenance worker.
"I think it?s really too much money for us poor people,? Brenda White, of Hempstead, says. ?I think it?s entirely too much.? White says she uses the Long Island Bus to go to her doctors? offices and lives on a fixed income.
LIRR riders are only being hit with an average 26 percent fare hike. The MTA says bus riders are being hit harder because Nassau County is no longer paying its fair share to fund the system. The county disputes that.
Long Island Bus officials say they expect ridership to drop dramatically with the fare increase.
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