Unused MetroCards Could Buy 23 Million NYers Rides Next Year

MTA expects to rake in $52 million from cards that are purchased but not used

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    Just imagine all these people getting a free ride.

    Unused MetroCards could buy 23 million New Yorkers rides at the highest price – or every Staten Islander a 30-day pass at $99 – next year, according to a published report.

    As draconian service cuts and fare increases force straphangers to take a hike, the Metropolitan Transit Authority predicts it will save a whopping $52 million in unused cards next year, reports the Daily News.

    The MTA lists the sizeable sum among the revenue generators in its $12 billion spending plan, designed to help close a $900 million budget gap.

    The initial budget plan proposes caps on weekly and monthly "unlimited" cards or a choice between cards that could push the cost of an unlimited monthly pass up to $130 a month in addition to severe service cuts that already have some straphangers frantic.

    Also, the proposed plan calls for cutting the amount of time riders can use their Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road tickets from 90 days to merely a week.

    It wasn't immediately clear how much the MTA planned to rake in from unused tickets from Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North or other commuter train riders.

    The fare changes -- coming less than two years after a previous hike -- won't take effect until January.

    The head of Transportation Alternatives, a public-transit advocacy organization, condemned the proposal.

    "The riding public is footing more and more of the bill to keep our transit system running, and all the while the services they rely on are disappearing before their very eyes," says Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. "If our elected officials in Albany think the riding public is going to stomach massive service cuts and a whopping fare hike during an election year, they've seriously miscalculated."

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