FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — Catching a ride on Metro-North’s New Haven Line will cost Fairfield County residents a bit more green next year as a 5 percent fare increase goes into effect Jan. 1, the railroad announced.
The increased fares will be implemented along the New Haven Line and Shore Line East, affecting all riders who travel between Connecticut and New York and between stations within the state. That includes on the Danbury, New Canaan and Waterbury branch lines.
“Does it make me happy? Of course not, but what can you do?” said James Kingsley, who takes the train from Westport to Grand Central Terminal every day. “I can either pay the higher fares or I can drive over an hour in miserable traffic every morning. Personally, I’d rather continue to take the train.”
News of the fare hike comes only a week after a Metro-North train derailed in the Bronx, killing four passengers and injuring another 63. The Dec. 1 accident wasn’t the only trouble to afflict Metro-North this year.
Back in May, about 60 people were injured when one Metro-North train derailed and clipped a second one on the Fairfield/Bridgeport border. In the fall, service on the New Haven Line was severely disrupted for 12 days after a Con Edison power failure in Mount Vernon left an 8-mile stretch of the line without electricity.
“I think they’ve got nerve milking us for more money considering the year they’ve had,” said commuter Helen Frankel. “I wouldn’t mind so much if service was more reliable, but that’s not the case.”
But an increase in fares is necessary to keep up with rising operating costs, State Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker said.
“This fare increase is the third in nine years,” Redeker said in a statement. “During that time, operating expenses continued to grow due to inflation and service has been increased on weekdays and weekends on both the New Haven Line and Shore Line East.
"We held several hearings throughout the state prior to adopting the phased implementation of fare increases over three years.”
Train riders who will feel the fare increases the most are those who purchases monthly rail passes. Monthly tickets on sale for January will reflect the new fares.
To see a sampling of the new fares, click here.