2008_12_subwaypl.jpgPhotograph by vinnie716 on Flickr

In the future, subway travel will be the exclusive domain of the moneyed class, a decadent indulgence enjoyed by only the most privileged New Yorkers. And the future starts now! Today the MTA confirmed that next year the cost of a subway or bus ride could reach $3 for a one-way trip. The MTA faces a serious budget deficit of $1.2 billion next year and wants to increase the overall revenue from fares and tolls by 23 percent.

The MTA is also considering a potential increase in the price of a 30-day unlimited-ride MetroCard, from the current $81 to as much as $105. The fare on express buses could go up a maximum of 25%, from the current $5.00 to $6.25. And the Access-A-Ride paratransit fare could rise as much as 200%, from the current $2 a ride to $6 a ride. In a statement, Gene Russianoff at the Straphangers Campaign says, "The news is awful...As a result, riders could end up paying a lot more for a lot less service."

The MTA revealed the possible increases in an announcement of eight public hearings on the proposal. According to a statement from the MTA, "the notice sets a range of possible changes to allow for flexibility in reaching the 23% increase in revenue from fares and tolls included in the budget passed last week. The actual fare proposal will be released prior to the hearings, and the flexibility in the notice will enable potential changes based on input from the public and the MTA Board." After the jump, the dates/times/locations of the public hearings.

Below are the dates and locations for the MTA's hearings on (deep breath!) proposed changes in fares and crossing charges, levels of service and partial or complete closings of subway stations or of means ofpublic access to stations. All hearings begin at 6 p.m. Registration closes at 9 p.m. More info on the MTA's proposal here.

Wed Jan 14, 2009
Hilton NY, Trianon Ballroom
1335 Ave of the Americas, Manhattan
Directions: E V to 5 Av/53 St, B D F V
to 47 - 50th Sts/ Rockefeller Ctr.; M5, 6, 7

Tues Jan 20, 2009
Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel
Phoenix Ballroom, 135-20 39th Ave, Flushing, Queens
Directions: 7 to Flushing-Main St;
Q12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20A, 20B, 25, 26, 27, 28,
34, 44, 48, 58, 65 , 66, QBx1, N20 or 21;
LIRR to Flushing-Main St.

Wed Jan 21, 2009
The Garden City Hotel, The Grand Ballroom
45 Seventh St, Garden City
Directions: LIRR to Garden City; LIRR to Mineola,
then N40/41 (SB); LIRR to Freeport, then N40/41 (NB)

Mon Jan 26, 2009
College of Staten Island
CSI Center for the Arts, Springer Concert Hall
2800 Victory Blvd, Staten Island
Directions: X10 and 11; S62, 92, 53 (transfer to S62
or 92 at Victory Blvd and Clove Rd), or S93.
Shuttle Bus will be provided between College of
Staten Island bus stop and Springer Concert Hall

Wed Jan 28, 2009
Westchester County Center
Rooms A - C, 198 Central Ave, White Plains
Directions: MNR to White Plains,
then any of these Bee-Line buses: 1W, 5, 6, 13, 14,
15, 20, 40

Wed Jan 28, 2009
NY Marriott at the Bklyn Bridge
333 Adams St, Brooklyn
Directions:A C F to Jay St-Borough Hall, M R to
Lawrence St, or 2 3 4 5 to Borough Hall;
B25, 26, 37, 38, 41, 45, 51, 52, 54, 57, 61, 65, 67,
75 or 103

Mon Feb 2, 2009
Palisades Center, Raso Community Room
1000 Palisades Center Drive, West Nyack
Directions: MNR to Tarrytown, then Tappan ZEExpress
Bus to Palisades Center; Community Center is next to
ice rink.

Wed Feb 4, 2009
Lehman College, CUNY, Lovinger Theatre
250 Bedford Park Blvd West, Bronx
Directions: 4to Bedford Park Blvd - Lehman College
or B D to Bedford Park Blvd; Bx2, 10, 22 ,28;
BxM4A, 4B