2009-01-02 / Community

Bloomberg Backs Stable Fare For Express Bus Riders

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg Many local commuters use the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) express service from Rockaway to Manhattan as an alternative to driving or to using the crumbling A Train service.

Those locals were disconcerted when the MTA announced that it planned to raise the fare to $7.50 from $5 dollars for a one-way ride.

Some express bus riders said that, should the plan be implemented, they would begin using their private automobiles to commute to work.

"If I'm going to pay $15 to ride the bus, I might as well spend a little more and have the comfort of my own car and my own time schedule," one such rider said. On Wednesday, however, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced the defeat of what he called "a proposed disproportionate fare increase on Express Bus riders."

The Mayor vigorously opposed the unequal increase on Express Bus riders and worked to remove the Express Bus fare increase from the overall Metropolitan Transportation Authority budget proposal, a spokesperson said. "We led the effort to oppose a fare increase on Express Bus riders from $5.00 to $7.50 - a rate of increase far larger than what the MTA is asking other transit riders to pay - because it would have done far more harm than good, and it would have hurt neighborhoods with the least transit options the most. Imposing a disproportionately large fare increase on Express Bus riders would have reduced mass transit use, causing riders to switch to their cars and creating more congestion and more pollution. Taking the proposed 50 percent increase in Express Bus fares off the table is right for Express Bus riders and right for the entire transportation system.

"We need action from legislative leaders in Albany to ensure the MTA does not return to the bad old days of the 1970s, when a lack of funding resulted in a near collapse of the system. Now is the time for them to stand up and put forth their solution for a stable funding stream to prevent major service cuts and fare increases and to fund capital investments."

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