Dec
19

MTA Board approves fare hike

By · Published in 2007

Stock up on those $76 MetroCards while you still can.

The MTA Board has voted to approve the proposed fare hike. Beginning March 2, 2008, fares for New York City buses and subways will increase. CityRoom has the story:

The majority of riders — who use unlimited-ride MetroCards or get a discount for buying multiple rides at once — will have to pay more, starting on March 2. The costs of unlimited-ride cards will rise to $81 from $76 for the 30-day card and to $25 from $24 for the 7-day card; a new 14-day card will be sold for $47.

The bonus for regular pay-per-ride cards will be reduced to 15 percent from 20 percent, but the threshold for receiving the bonus will also be reduced, to $7 from $10. With the bonuses in place, the average cost of a bonus ride will rise to $1.74 from $1.67. The express bus fare ($5) and the cost of a 7-day express bus pass ($41) remain unchanged.

As anyone who follows New York politics knows, the fare hike debate has been raging for much of the last two months. The MTA wanted a higher increase and a base-fare hike as well, but Gov. Spitzer, ever mindful of those tourists in New York, decided he would rather screw over the regular commuters with a token gesture that keeps the base fare at $2 and didn’t really help his sagging approval ratings anyway.

While the MTA has long pushed this fare hike an important step on the road to fiscal responsibility, opponents of the hike have urged the agency to wait a few months for Albany to kick back some money. “I think there’s no harm in waiting until July 1, to keep the pressure on Albany and to ensure they come through for the M.T.A.,” MTA Board Member and fare hike dissenter Andrew Saul said. “By taking the pressure off Albany at this point, it’s a bad mistake for us.”

But other members on the MTA Board recognized the Authority’s tenuous financial situation. Barry Feinstein, an appointee of the governor, noted that the MTA faces a “dog fight” for state funding, and Susan Metzger appreciated the efforts by the MTA to ween itself off of tax windfalls. “This is a very hard decision for all of us too make, and it’s an unpopular one but it’s a first step toward fiscal responsibility,” she said. The MTA, she noted, can no longer turn “a blind eye to our responsiblity to put the MTA on a firm future monetary structure.”

Hikes will go into effect on March 1 for MetroNorth and LIRR riders and March 16 for Bridge and Tunnel users.



Categories : Fare Hikes

13 Responses to “MTA Board approves fare hike”

  1. ScottC says:

    Let’s see, over 70% of the rides in the system are on unlimited or discounted cards. As your metrocard challenge shows, you are only paying $1.10 per ride. With the increase, you would be paying $1.17 per ride. 7 cents a day is more than a fair inflationary increase, in my opinion; and still very cheap when you compare it to the cost for a monthly pass in other systems – like, say, DC.

  2. Scott: Agreed. I’ve been in favor of the fare increase pretty much since the start. If the MTA is serious about its financial future, this fare hike is a smart move. There’s a populist knee-jerk reaction any time prices go up, and because it’s a public benefit corporation, it’s much more of a big deal with subway fares go up than when, say, milk or OJ prices increase. But it’s a cheap system that’s staying very cheap. And for one fare, you can go anywhere.

  3. Marsha says:

    With the new rates, so far on your pay-per-ride accounting, you would pay $1.17 per ride instead of $1.10. Still not bad for a monthly pass.

  4. Marsha says:

    The flaw in the increase, however, is that although it may be “more than a fair inflationary increase,” it is hitting the regular ridership’s pocketbooks instead of the single fare users, like tourists, who will pay whatever the cost of a ride is while they are in NYC for a short visit.

  5. Marc Shepherd says:

    I am still baffled as to what Spitzer was thinking. Did he realize that most New Yorkers do not pay the $2 fare? If he realized it, did he not care?

  6. Gary says:

    The $2 fare makes a good headline.

    I heartily supported Spitzer but so far he has been disappointing as a governor. But he’s still got time to turn things around. I have hope for him yet.

  7. ScottE says:

    Expect a run on Metrocards towards the end of February. I know I’ll be loading up with rides at a 20% discount before the discount gets cut to 15%! (Remember, the amount is based on the time you PURCHASE the card, not when you USE the rides). I’m sure a bunch of machines will be empty/broken around that time. To think — the MetroCard machine category was always the highest scoring on the Rider Report Card!

    Does anyone know what’s happening with the LIRR/MetroCard discounts? Right now, if I mail-order an unlimited monthly Metrocard along with with my monthly LIRR ticket, the LIRR is discounted by 5%. (In one of the earlier fare-hike plans, that was going to be reduced to 3% versus the ticket machine price). And, since the MetroCard is from the first to the last of the month, so it could be 28-31 days, so it’s not a true 30-day card; perhaps a whole different set of rules apply. Information the LIRR/MetroNorth fares, especially discounts, has been vague.

  8. Carla says:

    So for commuters (i.e., those who only use the subway 2 times a day, 5 days a week), it will actually make more sense *not* to buy the 30-day unlimited ($4 a day x 5 days a week x 4 weeks in a month = $80).

  9. Carla,

    Basically, yes, but I don’t know too many folks who use the subways only to commute. I’ll do some math before the hike goes into place.

  10. Chris says:

    Ben,

    There are plenty who use it only to commute… anyone who takes commuter rail to Penn Station or Grand Central and then uses the subway to get to and from their place of work.

  11. anon says:

    When it comes down to it, I can’t get my dander up about the gimmick of “saving the $2 fare”. Yes, it’s political symbolism. But how was the MTA going to get the revenue it needed without raising fares at least a little bit for the 86% of its riders who get discounts?

    As has been pointed out, it’s not a large increase, probably not keeping pace with inflation, and the fare is still a relatively good deal.

  12. anon says:

    Sorry if this appears twice. WordPress seems to be eating my post.

    When it comes down to it, I can’t get my dander up about the gimmick of “saving the $2 fare”. Yes, it’s political symbolism. But how was the MTA going to get the revenue it needed without raising fares at least a little bit for the 86% of its riders who get discounts?

    As has been pointed out, it’s not a large increase, probably not keeping pace with inflation, and the fare is still a relatively good deal.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] we’ve seen all sorts of fare and fiscal shenanigans involving the MTA. When the Board had to raise fares in 2008 to cover an expected economic shortfall, then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer pushed to maintain a $2 base fare […]

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>