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NFTA Doubles Recommended Fare Increase

By Joyce Kryszak


Buffalo, NY – The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority unveiled a plan Thursday to raise fares for metro bus and rail to two dollars next year.

If approved, the recommended two-step fare increase would add 25 cents in January and another 25 cents in July. That's double the hike recommended by the NFTA last month.

Lawrence Meckler is Executive Director for the NFTA. He said they were anticipating a one million dollar gap because of reduced aid and higher fuel costs. But he said with the state fiscal crisis, operating aid is expected to be much less than originally planned. Meckler said that leaves few options - either raise fares or cut services.

He said lower fuel costs have helped some. But he said it is not enough to make up for the millionsof dollars they will lose from sources that supplement NFTA operating expenses, such as state aid and Erie County mortgagae recording and sales tax.

With the additional 25 cent rate hike, he said the NFTA would bring in an extra six million dollars in the next fiscal year. He said they would reconsider the second rate hike if state aid came in higher than expected. Meckler said the public could help change the equation by being vocal at the upcoming public hearing. He said the state increased aid at least once in the past when the public voiced concerns about proposed rate hikes and service cuts.

The public hearing will be held sometime during the first week of December. The NFTA board will vote on the proposed rate increases by year's end.

Click the audio player above to hear Joyce Kryszak's story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.