At a public hearing today, Tri-State spoke out for Suffolk County Transit riders, who could see a $.50 fare increase on May 1.
While acknowledging that fares haven’t been raised system-wide for two decades, Tri-State Policy Director Ryan Lynch urged County Executive Bellone and the Suffolk County Legislature to phase in the hike over three years. An incremental phase-in would ease riders’ financial burden and leave them free to spend their money at local businesses. Suffolk County Transit riders earn $20,000 less, on average, than motorists who drive to work alone, and the proposed increase could cost weekday bus riders an extra $100 in 2012.
Lynch also called on Suffolk County Transit to spend any excess revenue from fare hikes on service improvements. They were intended to generate $1 million in order to cover growing operating expenses, but Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget would give the county an additional $1.5 million for its bus system. This windfall presents an opportunity to expand service and attract new riders, and it should be used to that end.
A second public hearing on the fare hikes will be held on Thursday, March 1, from 3-7pm.
To read Tri-State’s full comments, click here.