If there’s one thing New Yorkers can agree on in these divided times, it’s that they don’t want to pay more to get around the city.
A bipartisan spread of politicians, transit workers, straphangers and car drivers piled on MTA execs one by one Tuesday night to voice their opposition to possible fare and toll hikes at the first official public hearing on the topic.
“Our riders cannot simply afford another fare increase,” state Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Nassau) testified via Zoom.
“For the purposes of attracting ridership, it simply is the wrong thing to do and a disincentive at the very time we want to be encouraging people to get back on the train.”
Transit officials have floated multiple options for fare and toll hikes next year, in line with the agency’s policy since 2009 to enact increases every two years.
Besides increasing the $2.75 subway fare, transit honchos are mulling getting rid of time-based unlimited MetroCards, reducing the number of commuter rail fare zones and eliminating the Verrazzano Bridge’s Staten Island resident discount.
Tuesday’s Zoom hearing turned out opponents from all corners of the MTA region, and all political stripes — from Long Island’s Kaminsky to U.S. Rep.-elect Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island), who testified in favor of maintaining the bridge discount.
“It’s totally unacceptable that the fares are going to be going up,” Brooklyn commuter Nicolas Seunarine testified.
“Democrat and Republican, we should have a fare that’s reasonable for everybody — $2.75 right now, it’s very reasonable for everybody.”
Earlier Tuesday, MTA board member Andrew Albert told The Post it made little sense to raise fares while simultaneously contemplating service cuts.
“Ask people to pay more for less service, that will make people stop and think twice before using transit and we want people to use transit,” Albert said.
“This is a different time, and maybe it should be approached differently.”
Speaking at the start of Tuesday’s meeting, MTA Chairman Pat Foye admitted the proposals won’t make a dent in massive deficits wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has cut ridership by 70 percent.
“Our goal was to minimize impact on New Yorkers in these difficult times,” Foye said of the proposals on the table.
“Still, we fully know that any increase will hurt New Yorkers, especially those in areas that depend on us most.”
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