Hot on the heels of yesterday’s joint Governor-Mayor MTA reform proposal and after delaying a vote on the topic last month for no clear reason, the MTA Board on Wednesday approved a fare hike that eliminates the pay-per-ride discount and keeps the break-even economics of an unlimited card in place. Due to the one-month delay, the agency will lose out on $30 million this year, and the new fares will go into effect on April 21.
Here’s a look at what we’ll all be paying in two months. The increases clock in between 3-5% depending upon the service.
For pay-per-ride cards, this move finally wipes out the MTA’s bulk discount, long a target of fare hike proposals. Currently, the MTA offers a 5% on purchases over $5.50, making the effective fare $2.62. But come late April, all riders who aren’t buying time-based cards will pay the same $2.75 per ride. The unlimited passes go up by a similar percentage, but the breakeven points for each card remains the same. As it is today, on the 47th swipe, a 30-day card is a better deal than paying as you go, and on the 13th swipe, a 7-day card saves you money. I’ll have more thoughts on the MTA’s approach to fare structure in the coming weeks.
In comments following the vote, Fernando, Ferrer, one-time Bronx borough president and the interim chairman of the MTA, had this to say: “It’s painful for a lot of reasons, for a lot of people, but we had to do it, and it is within inflation. So it wasn’t exactly a mugging.” You can take that line to the bank.
Meanwhile, the MTA also announced a new series of internal cost-cutting and performance measures to go with yesterday’s congestion pricing/reform proposal, including a promise that each MTA subagency will issue consolidation plans that identify $500 million in cost savings. I’ll have more on this soon, and you can read about it here in the agency’s own press release.