MTA holds emergency meeting on fare hikes

The MTA held an emergency meeting Friday to discuss possible fare hikes and present a worst case scenario for what will happen if the agency doesn?t get more money from the state.
Commuters that use the Long Island Rail Road may see fares go up by as much as 30 percent. Other options being considered are closing ticket booths, eliminating weekend service on the West Hempstead branch and cutting rush-hour service on the Port Washington line in half.
If the fare hikes take effect, a subway ride could cost $2.50. A 30-day unlimited MetroCard would increase from $81 to $103. There will also likely be service cuts in an attempt for the MTA to balance its budget. This would all be done to help close the MTA?s $1 billion budget deficit.
The organization says it needs to take drastic action since the state has not approved a payroll tax and additional bridge tolls. The MTA says such action can be prevented if Albany passes the recommendations put forth by the state-appointed Ravitch Commission. That would create new transit revenue.
"Well it's extremely disappointing,? LIRR President Helena Williams says. ?My only hope is that by the March 25 board meeting that we'll actually get a resolution. We need to see the Ravitch proposals adopted."
MTA board member Mitch Pally agrees, and says state lawmakers have let the riding public down.
?The rider should pay a fair share, but not an exorbitant share,? Pally says. ?That's all we're asking for at the moment."
Any fare hikes or service changes would go into effect June 1.