2006_11_mta.jpgThe MTA board sources tell the Daily News that fare hikes in 2007 are unlikely for buses, subways, Metro-North, and the LIRR. Hooray - previously it was thought that a fare hike could come next September, but now you can thank the strong real estate economy for adding to the MTA's coffers.

The MTA's 2007 financial plans will be unveiled today and are to be approved next month. The only thing is that we'll probably have a fare hike in 2008, given the MTA's dire financial situation (a projected deficit of nearly $1 billion in 2008).

But there is some good news: There won't be that $20 million in service cuts, an idea floated in September. One board member said, "The board is vehemently opposed to service cuts. The board would rather have a fare increase than service cuts." Which makes sense, since monthly subway ridership has been been the highest since 1970, when the MTA started keeping track of monthly numbers. The NY Times reports that 5.076 million people rode the subways on an average weekday in September (subway and bus ridership was a 7.61 million for an average weekday). So you aren't going crazy for thinking your subway rides have been a little more crowded.