In their latest piece about the proposed fare hikes from the MTA, the Times offers this bit of insight that may shock you: when the MTA faces a deficit, it's the riders who must pay to fill it. We thought double rainbows and Princess Leia would take care of everything, but it is now being reported that to close their $400 million budget gap, the MTA will be relying on the assumption that straphangers will pay up because they have no other choice. Surely you jest, Gray Lady!

The MTA will unveil the new plans next Monday, with proposals for things like "limited unlimited" cards and a $1 surcharge for new MetroCards. Gene Russianoff, staff lawyer for the Straphangers Campaign, put it bluntly: "A fare hike is a fare hike is a fare hike. Across the board, people are going to experience higher costs for getting around town." And though some estimates say infrequent riders may feel the brunt of the costs, the Wall Street Journal argues the MTA may be punishing their best customers.

The "limited unlimited" MetroCard would be good for 90 rides over 30 days—which the average city courier could go through in less than a week. Couriers began favoring subways once the unlimited card was introduced in 1998, and ends up costing them about $.22 per ride. Courier services also encouraged subway use as insurance for bike messengers rose. And, as the MTA predicts, many services say they'll stick with the subway even in the face of fare hikes. Messenger service owner Adam Dally he "could buy the subway system in its entirety" for what insurance would cost for bike messengers.