Home Asides With the fare hike, anticipating a small ridership drop

With the fare hike, anticipating a small ridership drop

by Benjamin Kabak

In the months prior to the June service cuts, the MTA saw its ridership increase for the first time since the recession hit. Now, however, forces are gathering against the authority, and with the cuts in place and fare hikes coming our way in January, the authority believes it will see a slight decline in ridership come 2011.

As Pete Donohue reports in the Daily News, the MTA expects 16 million fewer trips in 2011 than in 2010, a decline in subway ridership of approximately 0.7 percent. The authority believes a rebounding New York economy will dampen the impact of the fare hike as the projected 66,000 new jobs will lead to more transit use. “Because we are cautiously optimistic about the recovery of New York’s economy, we expect the fare increase to cause a very small decrease in ridership,” Jeremy Soffin, MTA spokesman, said to Donohue.

Still, despite the improving economy, if the MTA opts to limit the currently unlimited MetroCards, the ridership drop could be larger than expected. Those riders on a budget who currently enjoy unlimited transportation won’t swipe as often as they do now and may take fewer trips for pleasure. The hikes though will see the authority’s revenue take increase significantly. “Poor people and people of modest means count their trips more often after a fare hike, and they’ll cut out some nonwork trips,” Straphangers guru Gene Russianoff said.

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