Egads - the MTA must really be screwed: Their previous suggestions for monthly Metrocard fare hikes was $6, from $70 to $76, but now they're talking about making them $84. This is in addition to a couple other measures. Gothamist understands that it costs a lot of money to run and maintain the subways and buses. And even though we question the leadership, we do know that Albany hasn't been helping the MTA for the past few years. The fact that NY State isn't helping the MTA makes Gothamist crazy, because NYC's economy (and the MTA literally helps move it) does make New York State a political force. Yeah, yeah, there are upstate industries, but nothing like NYC. So, Governor Pataki, if you want Gothamist to take you seriously (and you're doing a crap job of that now), help out the MTA.

The proposed changes:

• Change MetroCard discount pricing to increase the price of the 7-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard to up to $24 and the 30-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard to up to $84. The base fare of $2 will remain unchanged.
• Increase MTA Long Island Rail Road and MTA Metro-North fares in order to achieve total fare revenue increases of 5% to as much as 8%. Individual fare increases may vary substantially depending upon ticket type.
• Increase crossing charges on all MTA bridges and tunnels by up to 50 cents in each direction for passenger vehicles, or by up to $1 where tolls are collected in one direction only, and establish a $1 monthly E-ZPass account fee, and add changes to the toll rates for other vehicles.
• Close 49 full-time MTA New York City Transit subway station booths, and 115 part-time booths. Each station will continue to have at least one booth staffed full-time.
• Increase MTA New York City Transit express bus fares to up to $6.
• Terminate G subway service at the Court Square station at all times.

Here's the MTA's press release (PDF) about the fare hikes and public hearings to discuss them (Gothamist would like to say the MTA does a really good job of burying their press releases). Also, looking at the MTA's budget proposal for 2005 is good for a laugh.