Metro-North introduces new fare hike

FI-metro-north_trainA 5% fare hike goes into effect on Metro-North’s New Haven Line, including the Greenwich Branch, on Wednesday, Jan. 1.

The increase affects tickets that include travel to or from any Connecticut station and some travel on the line between Rye and Port Chester, N.Y.

Tickets bought before Jan. 1, will be honored for up to six months, depending on the type of ticket.

The increase was eventually instituted by the state Department of Transportation, which owns the New Haven Line, under the direction of Governor Malloy in the first year of his administration. The more than 16% fare hike on Connecticut commuters has been taking place since 2012 and will continue through 2018, officials said.

The increase will raise a monthly ticket cost for Greenwich commuters into the city from $292 to $306.60. A peak one-way ticket from New Greenwich to Grand Central would increase from $12 to approximately $12.75. Monthly tickets will increase from $263 to about $276.

“This fare increase is the third in nine years,” James P. Redeker, the state Department of Transportation commissioner, said this month. “During that time, operating expenses continued to grow due to inflation and service has been increased on weekdays and weekends on both the New Haven Line and Shore Line East. We held several hearings throughout the state prior to adopting the phased implementation of fare increases over three years.”

Rail fares were set years ago to increase by about 4% at the beginning of 2012, 2013 and 2014. Then, the General Assembly passed an additional 1% tax to help pay for the M-8 rail cars, which for the past few years have been replacing cars up to 30 years old.

This becomes a compounded average increase of 5.04% for Jan. 1, according to the DOT, for all Connecticut rail fare types, including weekly and monthly UniTickets (combined bus/rail tickets).

For years, the Malloy administration has used money from ticket fares to help offset the state’s budget deficits.

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