Long Island Rail Road
Long Island Rail Road riders board a train in Long Beach (Photo by Joseph Abate).

Long Island Rail Road riders will begin paying nearly four percent more for train tickets over the next two years in the latest fare hike to hit the nation’s busiest commuter railroad.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board approved the increases Wednesday with the first increment taking effect March 19. Although some single-ticket, one-way riders will see a 6-percent hike of 50 cents, most riders that buy weekly and monthly passes will see an increase of 3.75 or less, with the hike capped at $15.

“The MTA is focused on keeping our fares affordable for low-income riders and frequent riders, and on how we can keep necessary scheduled increases as small and as predictable as possible,” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast said.

The fare hikes are the same for the LIRR as they are for Metro-North. The MTA did not approve a proposed 25-cent increase for the $2.75 New York City subway and bus fare, but it did increase the weekly unlimited Metrocard by $1 to $32 and the 30-day version from $116.50 to $121. In addition, drivers will shell out more thanks to new tolls on some major crossings.

Tolls for the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, Throgs Neck Bridge, Whitestone Bridge, Hugh L. Carey Tunnel and Queens-Midtown Tunnel are slated to increase from $5.54 to $5.76 for E-ZPass members, $8 to $8.50 for those paying cash.

Tolls for the Varrazano-Narrows Bridge are increasing from $11.08 to $11.52 for E-ZPass members, $16 to $17 for those paying cash, although those paying resident rates will see increases of less than 25 cents.

And tolls on the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge as well as the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge are going up from $2.08 to $2.16 for E-ZPass members and $4 to $4.25 for those paying cash.

The MTA has said that the fare and toll hikes are needed to keep their budget balanced. It touted the hikes as the smallest since 2009 and lower than the 2 percent annual rate of inflation, although it got an earful from residents opposed to the hikes during the public comment period before the board passed increases.

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