As MTA fare hike kicks in, commuters find ways to adjust
This weekend's MTA fare hike was the fourth in five years, and some New Yorkers are feeling the squeeze.
Looking to beat the fare hike the fare hike, Desiree Rucker did what many New Yorkers have done: She bought a bike.
The 23-year-old database manager from Bedford Stuyvesant said she got the idea from a co-worker who bikes to work every day, so with the fare increase looming, she bought herself a $300 bike about three weeks ago.
"I'm certain I'll be saving money," said Rucker, who works in midtown, adding that the bike will pay for itself once the weather warms up.
"Why not be healthy and save money?" she added.
Echoing a sentiment many straphangers have expressed, Rucker said she'd rather have a functioning, lower-cost subway system than one with bells and whistles, such as countdown clocks in some stations.
"I don't know if all the improvements are necessary," Rucker said. "I'd rather have an affordable, reliable system."
LaShawn Green, 41, is a Long Island City receptionist liwho buys a 30-day unlimited card every month. Already scraping by, she said the fare hike is just one more thing making her rethink life in New York.
"Too many recent fare hikes! This is just a little too much," Green said. "They've raised the fare so much. What's the reason for it?"
Green said she's already cut down on eating $7 - $8 lunches from midtown restaurants, and with the fare hike she'll be brown bagging her meals even more often.
The city's spiraling costs have Green considering moving out of down, she said, but that it's not much better elsewhere.
"To see all these recent fare hikes - the MTA needs to give us a break," she said.
Like many straphangers, Ian Owens, said he sees the reasoning behind the MTA raising fares every few years, but it doesn't make them any easier to take.
Owens, 31, of Harlem, rides the subway every day on his way to work at the Bowery Hotel, and said he has no choice but simply to adjust and find room in his budget for the extra expense.
"I understand they have to increase the price every couple of years, but I feel it does hurt when there's not an overall increase of (thing like) salaries and stuff," Owens said.
"I'll just make an adjustment. It's a necessity," he said. "Something will have to give somewhere."