County exec urges MTA not to raise fares

NEW CITY, NY – Rockland County Executive Ed Day again urged the MTA not to impose fare hikes on local commuters whose tickets have already increased sharply while service has worsened.

“This exemption request is not just based on our annual, $40 million value gap, nor having the dubious distinction of being the most underserved county in the MTA region,” Day said. “It is also based on the more than 52 percent average increase in fares we have experienced in just the past 10 years, plus the sub-par rail service provided to Rockland County on the Pascack Valley Line.”

The remarks were delivered at the hearing on Day’s behalf by Stephen J. Powers, the county executive’s director of Public Policy and Intergovernmental Relations. The MTA held one of a series of public hearings about the proposed fare hikes at a meeting Thursday, December 15 in Suffern.

Day’s administration has been working with the MTA to address the $40 million value gap between what Rockland residents pay and the commuter services they receive. He said that collaboration has resulted in a small narrowing of the value gap. He noted that the Metro-North last year permanently reduced the annual permit fee for West of Hudson rail station parking to just $20.
More recently, the MTA agreed to expanding Saturday service and launching Sunday service on the TAPPAN ZEExpress. Last year, Metro-North also permanently reduced the annual permit fee for West of Hudson rail station parking to just $20.

But Day noted that fares continue to rise. Since just 2007, there have been three fare increases with service cuts from NJ TRANSIT, along with five increases from Metro-North.

“Rockland commuters have had eight increases in nine years — more increases than anyone else in the MTA region,” he said.

He noted that Metro-North has incurred no additional costs to operate the service and has made no investments in that line.

“It costs less now to operate because of the service cuts. Yet our riders endured two fare increases last year alone. Why should we pay more for less?,” he asked.

Members of the public can submit comments via email through the MTA website or by letter to MTA Government Affairs, 20th Floor, 2 Broadway, New York, NY 10004.