Some train riders will pay more in 2014

The New Year is almost here so get ready to spread some cheer, but don’t forget to put away some money too.

That’s right, customers of Metro North’s New Haven line must prepare their wallets for a spike in train fare — a 5.04% increase, to be exact — that will make riding from Branchville to Grand Central Terminal cost $340 a month.

The increase will also affect anyone traveling to or from any Connecticut station and some travel on the line between Rye and Port Chester, N.Y, but will not affect the Harlem line that serves Katonah and Goldens Bridge stations.

The decision to raise the rates took place in 2011 and was instituted by the state’s Department of Transportation, which owns the New Haven line, last year.

“The more than 16% fare hike on Connecticut commuters has been taking place since 2012 and will continue through 2018,” State Senator Toni Boucher said.

The increase will raise a monthly ticket for Branchville riders from $324 to $340. A peak one-way ticket will increase from $15 to $15.75, while off-peak tickets will increase from $11 to $11.50

On the train, one-way peak and off-peak will cost $22 and $18, respectively. Weekly tickets will climb from $103.50 to $109.

“This fare increase is the third in nine years,” said James Redeker, the state Department of Transportation commissioner, earlier this month. “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.”

The fares were set to increase by about 4% at the beginning of 2012, 2013 and 2014, but received an additional 1% hike from the General Assembly to help pay off costs for M-8 rail cars that are replacing cars that have been in service for over 30 years.

The compounded average increase of 5.04% will effect all Connecticut rail fares including weekly and month UniTickets, which are combined bus-rail tickets.

Tickets bought before Jan. 1 will be honored for up to six months, depending on the type of ticket.

 —Additional reporting done by Joshua Fisher.

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