BP, residents to protest looming MTA fare hikes

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SOUTH BRONX -

With another MTA fare hike looming, riders are taking action later this morning.

Later today, subway and bus riders are scheduled to come protest at the 149th Street - Grand Concourse stop against potential fare hikes that are slated to come to a vote later this month.

The MTA is considering two options for fare increases.

The first option would keep the base fare at $2.75 but would end the bonus for buying a Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard.

The second idea would be to raise the base fare to $3 and double the bonus up to 10 percent.

MTA officials say part of the problem is a decrease in ridership and an increase in fare evasion.

One major complaint of straphangers is that the MTA should fix its service with the funding it already has.

However, MTA officials are saying they have no choice but to either raise fares or decrease service.

"One of the hardest facts is where people don't want to have a fare rise and they say, ‘why should we pay more when the service hasn't improved?’ Well one of the reasons why service is what it is, because if we don't have a fare rise…. that only makes things worse. The hole gets even bigger,” says Andy Byford, president of the New York City Transit Authority.

Also scheduled to be at the protest later today is Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., along with other city officials and advocates.

They are also planning to speak on returning control of the MTA from the state to the city.

The final vote for the fare hikes is slated for later this month. If approved, they could go into effect in March.

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