Commuters already bracing for a fare and toll increase in 2013 are getting another unpleasant surprise: the MTA is planning yet another hike for 2015 as it struggles to close its multimillion-dollar budget gap.
The plans were announced Tuesday by the MTA, which is looking to raise subway fares and bridge and tunnel tolls by another 7.5 percent. That's in addition to the 7.5 percent hike going into effect in 2013.
The budgeted hikes were part of a five-year financial plan brought before the MTA board Wednesday morning.
Board member Andrew Saul said the agency was projecting a $36 billion debt by 2015 -- a "ticking time bomb" that "falls on the backs of riders," according to Saul.
Even with the hikes, MTA would still contend with deep budget shortfalls. The agency is trying to draw out deep concessions from its unionized workers, asking employees to forgo raises for three years.
And it's taking other budget-saving measures, like implementing a $1 surcharge on MetroCards -- a move officials say would save the agency $20 million in printing and cleaning costs.
MTA said it would not enact more service cuts.