Train Fares Set to Increase

December 16, 2013

Hartford, CT – State Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) ranking member of the Transportation Committee released the following statement today re: Connecticut’s Department of Transportation fare increase on Metro North New Haven line beginning January 1, 2014.

“Though many commuters may be surprised by this fare increase, the actual decision to raise rates took place in 2011. The issue of raising rail fares was hotly debated by many of us in Hartford and throughout the district. I did not support it due to lack of assurances that the additional funds would not be diverted and would lead to rail service improvements.

“However, the increase was eventually instituted by the Department of Transportation under the direction of Governor Malloy in the first year of his administration.

“The more than 16 percent fair hike on Connecticut commuters has been taking place since 2012 and will continue through 2018. On January 1, 2014 a fare increase of 5% will go into effect on Metro-North’s New Haven Line. This increase will affect ticket prices for travel:

  • between stations within Connecticut
  • between Connecticut and New York stations –between Rye & Port Chester stations and a limited number of other stations

“For most rail commuters, the fare hike will translate to a sizable increase on a peak ticket, and will add nearly ten dollars or more to the cost of a monthly pass. The fare increase places further economic burdens on commuters. Even more importantly, a commitment that these fare increases would lead to better service has not been kept in light of the service delays and complaints my office has been receiving from constituents. Rail riders tell me that they expect improvements to substantiate these rail hikes.

“The administration must step up the pressure in holding Metro North’s feet to the fire given the poor service and questionable safety standards as of late. These critical rail lines have enormous impact on our state’s economy and changes in costs or service are immediately felt. Any deterioration of that level of service and safety of our commuting public should be taken very seriously and addressed with the state’s vendor, Metro North.

“This rate hike also adds to the concerns on the part of many that money from the special transportation fund is regularly diverted to fill holes in operating budgets while commuters rates continue to climb. I would encourage the administration to refund the $91 million to the special transportation account so that transportation fees can be used exclusively for transportation needs. Commuter fare increases should be tied to maintenance, oversight and better service as was originality intended.”