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Many Commuters Start Work Week Facing Higher MTA Fares And Tolls

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Many commuters are starting their work week facing higher MTA fares and tolls that went into effect on Sunday.

The MTA is keeping the base MetroCard fare for subways and buses at $2.75, but fares have gone up for weekly and monthly cards.

The cost of a seven-day MetroCard is now an extra $1, rising to $32 while a monthly pass now costs an extra $4.50, up to $121.

"That $4 can go a long way -- parking, food," one commuter told CBS2's Magdalena Doris.

"It keeps going up all the time, service never gets any better anyhow," another commuter said.

Weekly and monthly passes on Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road saw an increase of 3.75 percent.

Drivers aren't exempt at the MTA bridges and tunnels. Those paying cash now pay an extra 50 cents to a dollar and E-ZPass users will see a cut into savings of about 25 cents.

MTA CEO Tom Pendergast says the money will go to paying employees.

"We have a labor force that is a large part of the equation," he said. "We need them. They deserve fair raises."

While some commuters don't mind, others don't see how they can continually afford increases.

"You've got people out here struggling, you can't keep paying for the train and nothing is happening, nothing is changing," one woman said. "Delays, delays, delays."

"You can't even afford a weekly MetroCard no more, so you have to decide, am I gonna get to work or am I going to eat?" another woman said. "It's a struggle."

On Sunday, a coalition of politicians and activists introduced a "fair fares campaign," proposing a family of four living on $24,000 a year should be provided a MetroCard at half price. In that case, the city would have to pay the difference to the MTA.

"Public transit isn't public if the public can't afford it," City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca said.

In the past, Mayor Bill de Blasio has said there is no room in the city budget for a proposal like that, noting that it would be a state matter.

The next fare hike is scheduled for 2019.

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