While Senate Republicans are waiting for a call from Gov. Paterson in an effort to save the MTA, no one is too optimistic that any sort of acceptable plan will pass the Senate before next Wednesday. So with just six days left until the MTA Board is set to vote on its Doomsday budget proposal, word of the transit authority’s proposed new fare structure has hit the press.
The news is, of course, not very promising. A single fare will go up 25 percent to $2.50, and 30-day Unlimited Ride cards, while still a good deal, would pass the century mark. Shockingly, MTA Board members are calling this fare hike “the lesser of two evils.” Daily News transit beat reporter Pete Donohue has the story:
The price of a single subway or bus ride will soar from $2 to $2.50 under a menu of new fares the MTA is expected to adopt next week.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is on the verge of raising fares for millions of daily subway, bus and commuter train riders that would go into effect if the state doesn’t come through with a rescue plan. The MTA board’s finance committee is expected to approve the new fares Monday, followed by a full board vote Wednesday. Hikes are needed for the authority to have a required balanced budget and would take effect June 1, officials have said.
Under the proposal most board members appear to favor, the price of a monthly MetroCard would rise by $22 to $103. A weekly unlimited-ride MetroCard would jump by $6 to $31. The board is leaning against another set of proposed hikes that would jack up the $2 base fare to $3 and eliminate the 15% bonus on cash-based MetroCards valued at $7 or more.
“It really is the lesser of two evils,” MTA board member Allen Cappelli said. “Nobody wants to make these changes.”
NY1 had a few more details on the proposed fare schedule. Riders who stick with the pay-per-ride model will still earn a 15 percent bonus for all purchases over $7. That discount brings the actual cost of a pay-per-ride card down to $2.17.
Basically, these numbers are the same as those from November. At the time, the MTA hinted that fares could cover only half of the projected deficit. The other half will come from massive service cuts and personnel reductions. The details of those plans have yet to be announced.
With a $2.50 base fare, transit is slowly getting more and more expensive in New York City. Twenty years ago, a token cost $1.00. Ten years ago, the base fare sat at $1.50. Fares are now far out pacing inflation. Meanwhile, the East River bridges remain unnecessarily free.
One day, someone with the political will and power to do so will save the MTA. It doesn’t like that day will be any time this year though, and across the city, straphangers will have to soon budget for a $103 monthly MetroCard.