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NFTA approves fare hike, reduced service cuts

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The NFTA's Board of Commissioners today unanimously approved a 25 cent increase in the basic Metro Bus and Rail fare. 

The basic fare will go from a $1.75 to $2 in the coming weeks. Holders of daily, weekly, or monthly passes will also see similar increases. 

The Commissioners also pared some bus routes, but NFTA Executive Kimberly Minkel says the service reductions pale in comparison to what was originally proposed.

"We went from 26 percent of the system down to six percent in total and partial restoration of seven additional routes, or 43 routes in total," said Minkel.

The NFTA says riders' feedback suggested that a fare hike was preferable to substantial reductions in service. Acting Chair Henry Sloma told reporters today's vote was the result of rigorous study and substantial public input.

"This is the culmination of seven total hearings. We listened to probably about 17 hours of testimony from our customers. We took that information back to the staff. They re-analyzed the data. We took into account a lot of things that the public had to say," said Sloma.

The new fare and route adjustments can be viewed at http://metro.nfta.com/Routes/ServiceReductions.aspx.

Two members of the group Occupy Buffalo attending the noontime board meeting shouted "No!" when commissioners voted on the fare hike and service reductions. NFTA Police officers quickly escorted them out of the room.