On Sunday, May 4, the MTA will raise fares on all city subways and buses from $1.50 a ride to $2. The cost for riding the Express Bus will jump from $3 to $4. Until last week, we were inclined to accept the fare hike as bitter but necessary medicine. We are now no longer confident that the fare hike is necessary to keep the MTA out of the red.
State Comptroller Alan Hevesi has charged that, in essence, the MTA maintains two sets of books for its finances: one for public consumption and the other for internal use. Hevesi has raised the possibility that the MTA used deceptive bookkeeping techniques to create the impression that the MTA was facing a $200 million deficit when it was really in the black.
The response coming from the MTA has done little to convince the public that the massive fare hike is really necessary. Hevesi is a trusted leader in New York City. As the city comptroller he was not a person who used the power of his office to make reckless accusations.
The credibility of the MTA was further damaged by the suspension of MTA Security Director Louis Anemone, who charged that he was prevented from investigating corruption in the MTA management.
At this point there are more questions than answers. Until the public has the answers, the fare hike should be put on hold. With the Metrocard, this should be possible, even at this late hour.
©2003 Community News Group
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