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As MTA Seeks Rate Hike, Report Shows More Opt For Ridesharing Services

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- As the MTA announces plans to increase fares twice over the next three years, a new report finds more customers are opting for rideshare services, which is also causing increased congestion.

MTA officials announced Wednesday that they'll be raising fares by 4 percent next year and another 4 percent in 2021. Officials say the hikes are necessary to stave off budget deficits and decreased ridership.

"As we stated in November and as we stated in February, the MTA requires new sources of sustainable revenue for operations and for capital," said Chief Financial Officer Robert Foran. "Again, those are forecasted. They're still subject to our need, they're subject to public hearings and they're subject to board action."

Just the thought of another fare hike has MTA riders upset.

"I use the subway every day and I absolutely despise fare increases, as every New Yorker does," one woman told CB2's Janelle Burrell.

"Service is not good at all," St. Albans resident Willy Thomas. "The worst I've ever seen."

"I think it's absurd," another rider said. "I don't think we're seeing an improvement in service."

"The fares increase, but service stays the same or gets worse," said another.

MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said the transit system is experiencing a nationwide trend of fewer riders due to a combination of service, for-hire vehicles and fare evasion.

According to transportation consultant Bruce Schaller's study The New Automobility, one effect of rideshares in major cities is a drop in ridership on public transit.

Ron Paul commutes into Manhattan from Queens.

"You got people, particularly in Queens Brooklyn, different parts of the city very difficult to get to with trains," he said. "Trains with delays, the problems they're having, switch problems, they got on Uber so you can't really blame them."

The report also finds that rideshares are causing more traffic congestion and shows that about 60 percent of people who use the services in densely populated areas would have used pubic transportation or walked, biked or not made the trip at all if the rideshare service wasn't available.

MTA officials project the agency will lose $376 million in fares in the next four years because of low ridership.

And while commuters say MTA fares aren't bad compared to transit in other cities, others are bracing for what may be inevitable: preparing to pay more.

"It's upsetting but then what else are you gonna do?" said a Coney Island named Harris.

There are not a lot of details yet about the hike, but some board members say they are looking for other ways to make up revenue instead of passing the burden onto commuters.

Public hearings on the proposal will be held later this year. Some MTA board members have also called for congestion pricing as a way to offset the loss in revenue.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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