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MTA Fares Jump on Sunday

By Jill Colvin | March 1, 2013 11:35am

NEW YORK CITY — Straphangers are finding themselves a little more strapped for cash.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's latest round of subway fare and bridge toll hikes kicked in this weekend, upping the cost of getting around for millions.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, buses and subways cost an extra quarter for one-way rides, which will increase from $2.25 to $2.50.

Unlimited-ride MetroCards also jump from $104 to $112 for a 30-day card, and from $29 to $30 for 7-day cards.

Riders will also be forced to pay a $1 surcharge on new MetroCards purchased at fare machines and vendor booths — though replacements for damaged cards will be free. And the pay-per-ride bonus that riders get when they fill up will drop from 7 percent to 5 percent, but will now be available on sums as low as $5 instead of the previous $10.

Don't bother trying to game the system. Unlimited-ride MetroCards purchased before the hike must be activated by March 10.

Any cards activated after that date will only work through April 9 for 30-day cards and March 17 for 7-day cards. Remaining time will be refunded to customers depending on how long they've used the card.

Higher Long Island Railroad and Metro-North fares went into effect on Friday morning, boosting fares, on average, between 8 and 9 percent.

Drivers will also have to pay more on bridge and tunnel tolls crossing into and out of the city beginning Sunday at 2 a.m.

Most crossings, including the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, the Queens Midtown Tunnel, the Throgs Neck Bridge, the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge and the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, will now cost $7.50 each way (up from $6.50) for drivers paying cash, and $5.33 each way (up from $4.80) for E-ZPass users.

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toll will also spike from $13 to $15 for drivers paying cash and from $9.60 to $10.66 for E-ZPass users — although Staten Island residents who use the bridge three or more times a month will get a break. For those residents, each trip will cost $6, compared to $6.36 for infrequent users.

Traffic guru Sam "Gridlock" Schwartz warned drivers to expect increased congestion at many free bridges, including the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge and especially the Queensboro Bridge, as drivers make detours to try to get around the higher rates.

The latest round of hikes is intended to raise $450 million in new revenue. The next increases are scheduled for 2015.