On Friday, March 23, county transit officials announced plans for the first fare hike for bus and rail lines in 13 years. The across-the-board bump would hit commuters particularly hard - a $52 monthly pass would cost as much as $120 by 2009, the Downtown News reports.

An MTA fare hike means Downtown commuters could see monthly passes jump from the current $52 to $120 in 2009. Photo by Gary Leonard.

The proposal comes five months after a restrictive consent decree expired, allowing Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials to raise fares. While the MTA says the move is necessary to make budgets pencil out, it drew the ire of bus rider advocates.

"If you raise fares ridership goes down. And at these prices there would be no incentive for anybody to leave their car to use public transit," said Manuel Criollo, a spokesman for the Bus Riders Union, which sued the MTA over a 1994 attempt to raise rates.

Read the full Downtown News story .

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