Commentary on transportation in Connecticut and the Northeast by JIM CAMERON, for 19 years a member of the CT Rail Commuter Council.
Jim is also the founder of a new advocacy effort: www.CommuterActionGroup.org
Disclaimer: his comments are only his own. All contents of this blog are (c) Cameron Communications Inc
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December 02, 2012
How to Avoid the Next Fare Hike on Metro-North
Don’t look now, but there’s a 5% fare
increase coming January 1st 2013!
But if you’d like to avoid paying
more, here’s a simple (and legal) trick:
TICKETS BEFORE 12/31:There’s nothing stopping you from
buying tickets before the January 1st fare hike of 5%.Just be sure you can use them before they
expire and become worthless (see below).
Here are some other money saving tips
for commuters, daytrippers and familes:
commuters, see if your employer subscribes to this fabulous service, which
allows workers to save up to $500 a year in mass transit costs by using pre-tax
dollars.A recent survey shows that 45%
of all New York City companies offer TransitChek
which can be used on trains, subways and even ferries.
BY TRAIN OFF-PEAK:If you can arrive at Grand Central on weekdays
after 10 am and avoid the 4 pm – 8 pm peak return hours, you can save 25%.Off-peak is also in effect on weekends and
holidays.Your train will be less
TICKETS AT THE STATION:If you buy your ticket with cash on the
train you’ll pay the conductor a $5.75 - $6.50 “service charge”… a mistake
you’ll make only once!There are ticket
machines at most stations, but the cheapest tickets are those bought online.And go for the ten-trip tickets, peak or
off-peak, to achieve additional savings.The same ten-trip ticket can be shared among passengers, even those
traveling together in a group.
OUT FOR NEW TICKET RULES!:Watch out!Metro-North changed its ticket rules last
year in what many consider a hidden fare hike.One way and round-trip tickets are now valid for only 60 days.Even ten-trip tickets are now valid for only six months.And forget about getting a refund on an old
ticket, even if it hasn’t expired.Refunds cost $10 per transaction.
FAMILY & SENIOR FARES:Buy tickets for your kids (ages 5 – 11) in advance and save 50% over
adult fares.Or pay $1 per kid on board
(up to four kids traveling with an adult, but not in morning peak hours).Seniors, the disabled and those on Medicare
get 50% off the one way peak fare.But
you must have proper ID
and you can’t ride in the morning rush hours.
STATION PARKING:Even rail stations that require parking
permits usually offer free parking after 5 pm and on weekends.Check with your local town.
Once you’re in NYC, you can save even more
money on mass transit.
can be bought at most stations (or combined with your Metro-North ticket) and
offers some incredible
deals compared to the $2.25 cash fare:put $10 on a card (bought with cash, credit or debit card) and you get a
7% bonus.Swipe your card to ride the
subway and you’ll get a free transfer to a connecting bus, or vice versa.You can buy unlimited ride MetroCards
for a week ($29) or a month ($104).There’s now even an ExpressPay MetroCard
the refills itself like an EZ-Pass.
The bottom line is that it’s never cheap
going into “the city”.But with a little
planning and some insider tips, you can still save money.Enjoy!