MetroCard ‘Green Fee’ details coming into viewBy
For the last twenty months, the MTA has talked on and off about instituting a $1 surcharge on all new MetroCard fees. Instead of refilling a non-expired unlimited or pay-per-ride card, straphangers would have to pay $1 for a new card. The MTA says such a surcharge would net them $20 million annually in fees and savings, but many New Yorkers have called it a typical nickel-and-dime move. Mostly, it’s just been an idea on paper.
The idea, though, reared its head earlier this week as the MTA’s fragile 2013 budget includes an interesting line item. In the four-year projections, the MTA is, starting in 2013, relying on $20 million annually from the MetroCard “Green Fee” and Cost Savings. That seems to jibe with the revelation from October that the fee would not be instituted until 2013.
Today, Pete Donohue has a a piece on the surcharge. While the news isn’t, well, new, some of his details are. According to Donohue, as Transit is pushing the surcharge as a production savings, the reality is that it’s more of a fee. The agency will realize $2 million in cost savings from reduced MetroCard printing volumes while enjoying $18 million in added revenue from the fee.
“We want people to use fewer MetroCards,” Adam Lisberg, MTA spokesman, said. “It’s good for the environment and will reduce litter in our stations. Everyone has had the experience of walking into a station and seeing MetroCards littering the ground. If it costs $1 to replace your card, you won’t see that anymore.”
I’m mostly intrigued to see the impact the surcharge will have on the MTA’s fare media liability total. I’ve speculated in the past that encouraging straphangers to reuse their cards could actually cause decline in other revenues. Meanwhile, the MTA has plans to replace the MetroCard in 2015 (or so) and has offered up no date yet on when this “Green Fee” surcharge will actually be put into place. Perhaps all this hand-wringing is for naught.