The result of yesterday’s vote means that people who ride New York’s MTA buses and subways will now pay more. As a result of the 4% hike, quarterly bus and subway fares will go up to $2.75 while a 30-day MetroCard will now cost $116.50.
Approved by the MTA’s board, the new fares were part of several increases being considered for buses, trains, bridges, and tunnels. For other increases, those will be voted on later today. Once all decisions have been made, the new rates will go into effect starting on March 22.
For the MTA, increased fares have become a regular occurrence. In fact, fares are now scheduled to change every two years in line with the MTA’s long-term plans for generating revenue. As stated by Thomas F. Prendergast, chairman of MTA, the latest wave of fare increases are actually moderate but even so, much needed to help balance the budget against ongoing cost increases for providing various services.
The bonus for people who ride the bus and subway and pay with the MetroCard is an 11% increase, up from 5%. This applies to anyone who spends a minimum of $5.50 on the card. For a weekly pass, the increase goes up to $31.
Over the past year, there has been a significant jump in the number of riders. On some days, over six million people depend on MTA bus and subway service. With this comes the need for infrastructure improvements. At this time, the board must determine a way to pay for those changes. The proposal being made is a five-year capital plan consisting of $32 billion but the board is short of the goal by $15 million. Therefore, assistance from city and state authorities is being requested.
Few rider advocates were upset with the hike in fare with some actually praising Prendergast for keeping prices moderate compared to the 7.5% hike increase initially planned. However, board members along with advocates warned that if officials did not help fill the $15 million gap, higher tolls and fares are necessary would be necessary with another increase happening sometime in the near future.
Allen Cappelli, MTA board member, confirmed that if another method of funding the mass transit system were not found, increases would be the only other solution. Gene Russaianoff with the Straphangers Campaign urged for contribution from the city, stating the level has not changed since 1982, being roughly $100 million annually.
Russaianoff added that if contributions from the city had kept up with the rate of inflation, the annual figure would be closer to $360 million. According to Polly Trottenberg, commissioner with City Transportation and board member acting on behalf of Mayor de Blasio, the city of New York will help and is ready to do what needs to be done.