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MTA expected to approve 7.5 percent fare increase

First came the eliminated subway lines and diminished bus service, now it’s how much more money is it going to cost New York City’s straphanging millions with the arrival of 2011.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has promised an overall 7.5 percent fare increase in the new year with details expected at an MTA board meeting this Wednesday.

How much more for the 30-day unlimited MetroCard is near the top of proposals under discussion.

One idea is to raise the 30-day unlimited card to $104 with an alternate proposal to raise it to $99, but with a limit of 90 rides.

Other possibilities are:

• eliminating the one-day and 14-day unlimited MetroCards

• imposing a $1 fee for each new MetroCard for straphangers who get a new card instead of refilling their old MetroCard

• giving most MTA bridge and tunnel users 25- to 50-cent hikes

The MTA board will vote on public hearings in the fall with a final vote by the MTA board in December.

“It’s all going to hurt a lot of people,” said Gene Russianoff, attorney for the transit advocacy agency Straphangers Campaign.

“I think the MTA should be careful about limiting any unlimited card,” he said. “It’s this freedom of using it that promotes shopping trips on lunch hours and taking the kids to a trip they might not otherwise take. It’s a great boost for our economy. A goose that lays golden eggs.”

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

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