By Caroline Lewis
Whether from the news, the subway carolers or your vocal office mate, you’ve probably heard: The MTA pushed through another fare hike last month, which will take effect in March. Highlights include raising the regular fare from $2.25 to $2.50 and charging a $1 surcharge for the purchase of a new MetroCard. The MTA plans to help set off its deficit with “moderate” biannual fare increases, which means another hike will roll around in 2015. Truly, they’re in a bad way. Before incurring an estimated $5 billion in damages from Hurricane Sandy, the MTA was already dealing with a huge deficit and had reached an impasse with MTA workers, who are still working without a contract.In other words, the MTA is that guy running around pantsless on the subway. Will New Yorkers finally look up? Some are quietly playing with their smartphones, others are shaking their heads in resignation, and still others are chuckling, “It’s all part of that subway charm!”
We spoke to people near the Union Square station to see what (if anything) they think of the new fare hike and how they think the subway could improve.
OTDT: What do you think of the upcoming MTA fare hike?
“I’m a longtime NYC resident. I grew up here, and I feel that people are really being pushed to the limits as far as finances are concerned, and an MTA hike is just outrageous. I mean, really I think it’s just mismanagement of money and finances and people really cannot afford to have to pay more.”—Sheri Chard
“Well, I grew up here, but I don’t live here anymore, but I heard about the fare hike and I think we shouldn’t have to pay more for what we get, for the service that’s provided here.”—Davida Scretchings
“Why, is it going up to $2.50? I’m sure the trains will be 25 cents better. And that’s sarcasm.”—Rufus X.
“I think it’s worth it. You can go a long way for $2.25 now. They had a lot of damage with the storm, it costs a lot to remedy it, and for me to pick up a quarter, I mean, it’s not that much.”—Pique Buford
“It’s going up 25 cents? I’m walking everywhere. But I guess $2.50 to get all these different places is worth it. People need to get to work and go to school, so obviously people are going to spend the money. There’s nothing we can really do about it. But it’s going to add up really quickly.”
“Oh yeah, I think it’s disgusting. Well, listen, I mean if you see the economic situation of not only our city, but also the United States—the economic situation is chaotic. I think raising taxes and the fares on trains and ferries is disgusting.”
OTDT: What does the MTA need to improve?
“I feel that the services as far as the timeliness of the subways should be better. I’ve had so many issues where I can’t physically fit my body onto a subway because it’s so crowded during rush hour. And I live on Roosevelt Island, and the F train is just absurd with the crowdedness of the subways.”—Sheri Chard
“I feel that there should be more security in the subways.”—Davida Scretchings
“Infrastructure. So when [a storm] happens, it’s not as debilitating. We’re due to have storms, I’m assuming, in the next 10 years, and the subway’s very old. The infrastructure’s very antiquated. It’s like the gas lines. They break because they’re old and they’re worn and there’s no detecting when it’s going to happen. So we need to rebuild all over the city and in all of those areas, so if it costs me a quarter, I think we can all afford a quarter.”
“If you get a $20 MetroCard, they give you the added bonus [of $1.40], and so then you have a weird balance and you end up with an uneven amount. It’s just annoying because you have an insufficient fare, but it’s a significant amount of money.”—Emma Buford
“I think they should start thinking of trying to save a little bit of money for the people that don’t have it, particularly after Sandy. People got displaced, there’s no jobs—I think it’s terrible.”
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