As the MTA struggles to restore subway service in the wake of a paralyzing blizzard, the authority must also cope with the reality of a fare hike. Tomorrow — Thursday, December 30, 2010 — brings with it new fares. The 30-day card will cost $104 and the seven-day card $29. The 14- and one-day cards will go the way of the dodo, and the pay-per-ride discount will drop to seven percent on purchases above $10. Talk about bad timing.
Today, then, is the last day to stock up on pre-hike cards. For pay-per-ride cards, the sky is the limit. Put as much as you can on as many pay-per-ride cards as you’d like to enjoy cheaper rates. But unlimited riders must be ware the sunset dates. The MTA is allowing a very short grace period on cards bought before the hike that remain unactivated. Essentially, you have to begin using your old cards by January 10 to get full value.
Take a glance at this chart:
|Days on Card||Sunset Date|
Essentially, those who buy a card today but start using it after January 10 will not be able to use their cards until the end. Instead, straphangers will have to mail their cards back to the MTA for a refund. My advice is to start using those cards before January 10 to save the headaches of a refund process.
For the authority, the timing of the fare hike could not be worse. The snow storm has left riders stranded and disgruntled, and the MTA has to repair its public image while upping the fares at the same time. I guess the higher fares are better than crippling service cuts, which are, in essence, the alternative, but that $104 price tag certainly looks steep today.