Protests are expected over anticipated fare hikes for subway and bus rides, and the MTA is prepared to listen. The other day, MTA head Dale Hemmerdinger said "We're not deaf," in response to rider complaints about the boost in prices. Riders will get a chance to test that assertion tonight in Brooklyn, as hearings are held about a jump in fare hikes to $2.25 and a boost in weekly and monthly unlimited passes of 4% and 8%.

The New York Times explains why the hikes are coming now:

Officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority have tried to frame their proposal for higher subway, bus and commuter rail fares as a departure from past increases. They say it should be seen as part of a long-term financial plan, with a fare increase next year to be followed by an increase in state and city subsidies down the road.

But if the fare does go up next year, it will share at least one trait with most other fare increases of the last four decades: It will fall into a well-worn spot in the political calendar by coming near the beginning of a governor’s term.

The graphic above is also from the NY Times article. Basically each time a new governor has been elected in New York, a fare hike has occurred within the next year, with the idea being that fare hikes are inevitable so the elected official should face them earlier rather than closer to election years.

The Daily News had a creative take on the problem of MTA revenue problems: school kids are ripping off law-abiding fare payers. According to analysis, free-loading school kids took $190.5 million worth of trips, but the school system only chipped in $90 million in reimbursement.

Here's where the public hearings on the fare hike are being held.