By Jiaqi Huang SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature have approved a six percent surcharge on car rentals beginning on June 1st in New York State. The surcharge is aimed to shrink soaring budget deficits existing in Upstate New York public transit systems.
Steven Koegel, the vice president for Centro’s communications and business planning, said the surcharge bill that fills their $3.5million budget gap is Centro’s first new funding over these years. “It stabilizes our finances for a while to ensure that we can maintain the level of the service that we have,” he said.
Koegel said taxes and fares have been very flat compared to inflation, and their cost is growing faster than revenues for many years. “Our suburban and rural services are more expensive to run,” he said. “There are just less density and fewer riders, but those riders are still important, so you still have to continue to run the buses.”
While the surcharge bill makes Upstate New York public transit systems like Centro breathe a lot easier, Gregory Scott, a spokesman for the public authority from American Car Rental Agency, concerned a predictable loss in their customers. “As the price goes up, consumers move to other forms of transportations, this is no question on that happens,” he said.
Ronald Harper, who once spent about $300 on a car rental from Syracuse to New York City, said renting a car is already much more expensive than taking a coach. “I’m paying double just sit comfortably in the car,” he said. “I already don’t think that’s necessarily worth it, and with this raise, I won’t be running any more cars in New York state.”
Michael Collien, who does not rent a car frequently, said he would not deny the six percent surcharge if renting a car is the only option for him. “I know renting cars is expensive, this is sort of gravy on top of that expense,” he said.
Koegel said public transportation systems have various funding issues and they are funded differently. “Depending on where you live, and what the issues are, it’s something that public transportation is facing across America,” he said.