Home Fare Hikes In MTA fare hike, a $2.50 base and a $112 30-day card

In MTA fare hike, a $2.50 base and a $112 30-day card

by Benjamin Kabak

After a series of public hearings last month, MTA Chairman and CEO Joe Lhota has unveiled his recommended fare hike proposal ahead of Wednesday’s board vote. The package of fare hikes across all MTA properties resembles the one discussed Monday and will generate $450 million in additional annual revenue for the agency.

When the dust settled from the public debate, Lhota had determined that across-the-board increases — instead of the usual steep spike in the cost of unlimited ride cards — would be preferable. The base fare will go up to $2.50 with a 5% bonus on all purchase above $5. The 7- and 30-day cards will increase to $30 and $112, a jump of $1 and $8 respectively. “Customers asked us to minimize increases to the passes and maintain some level of bonus,” Lhota explained in a letter to the MTA Board. “They did not want to see another double-digit percentage increase in the 30-day pass.”

In addition to the fare increases, Lhota has also urged the MTA to adopt the $1 surcharge for new MetroCards. The MTA first announced plans to explore such a surcharge back in 2010, but implementation has been delayed due to some technical hurdles. “By encouraging customers to refill their cards,” Lhota wrote, “this fee will realize an estimated $20 million per year, both from savings from card production and new revenue from the fee.” The fee will not apply to out-of-system MetroCard purchases.

Under the new fare structure, the MTA is lowering the break-even point for unlimited ride cards. Currently at 14 rides for a 7-day card and 50 rides fr a 30-day card, the breakeven point will now be at 13 rides and 48 rides, respectively. Even as riders across the board are being asked to shoulder more of the MTA’s fiscal load, unlimited users are not being asked to take on a disproportionate amount of the increase this time around.

The MTA Board will vote on the fare hikes on Wednesday, and we’ll do it all over again in two years when the next schedule rate increases cross our paths.

For more on the fare hikes, check out this comprehensive PDF. Changes to tolls charged by MTA Bridges & Tunnels are documented here.

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Alex C December 13, 2012 - 5:24 pm

Are the fares still scheduled to go up in March? I still say the fare increase needs to happen in January. There will be mass cries for MTA heads regardless, and you can bet Greg Mocker will do a special on how awful the MTA is while ignoring the clowns in Albany responsible for the fiscal mess.

Benjamin Kabak December 13, 2012 - 5:25 pm

March 1 is the day.

SEAN December 13, 2012 - 6:29 pm

I just did a fast fare calculation. At the current rate, the 30-day Metrocard costs the equivalent of 46.2 single rides & the new fare is equivalent to 44.8 single rides. This will make the 30-day card a better value even with a fare increase as cost benefit falls under the importent number of 46.

BrooklynBus December 13, 2012 - 6:26 pm

I think you should have said “should” raise $450 million annually, not “will.” I seem to recall in the past the MTA always fall short of their projections due to losing more riders than projected.

Also, you don’t mention anything about the increase to $2.75 for single use tickets. Is that still on?

And I wonder if the MTA calculated into their projections the millions they will be losing by implementing the dollar surcharge on new cards, since more people will be refilling and throwing away fewer cards with money on it.

Benjamin Kabak December 13, 2012 - 6:29 pm

Based upon the numbers I’ve seen, those revenue projections from recent fare hikes haven’t fallen short, and the MTA hasn’t lost more riders than expected. Do you have a link or reliable source to back those two claims up?

BrooklynBus December 13, 2012 - 9:26 pm

It may not be true for the last few fare hikes, but true for the earlier ones.

Andrew December 13, 2012 - 11:39 pm

That is, the projections have been improving over time.

BrooklynBus December 14, 2012 - 12:08 am

Probably. Time will tell if that trend continues.

SEAN December 13, 2012 - 6:40 pm

Wich would you rather have, cards with odd values lieing around or fewer metrocards in circulation. The former is nice from a revenue standpoint, but remember the MTA needs to spend time collecting every loose card floating around & that costs time & money.

D in Bushwick December 13, 2012 - 7:43 pm

Forget congestion tolls, there should be parking lot tax of $5 per day on every vehicle parked longer than 3 hours going to the MTA.
Those who can afford to drive into Manhattan and park, can afford to help pay to keep more people on the subway and off the streets.

Phantom December 13, 2012 - 10:28 pm


Someone December 13, 2012 - 10:32 pm

Some people go into Manhattan not solely to park…

Phantom December 14, 2012 - 5:48 pm

Parking on the street in Manhattan is one thing. I rarely do it.

In huge areas of the rest of the city, cars can be necessary. And extreme ” anti car ” policies, including taxes on parking in the street, would be unwise in the extreme. They won’t be implemented. If we were crazy enough to implement such policies, you’d enrage a lot of working class / middle class people for no real good at all.

Cars will be a necessary part of the transportation mix for a long, long time. Don’t get crazy. And I say this as a fanatic user of mass transit / occasional bike commuter who happens to put a small number of miles on a car that I park on the street.

Boris December 14, 2012 - 11:34 pm

The idea isn’t really to make you pay more, but to convert a hidden tax (which you and all other residents already pay) to a fee targeted at only those actually benefiting from street parking. So there is nothing to get enraged about – you pay more than you think, through general city and state taxes. There’s nothing wrong with slapping a price tag on parking to make people aware of it.

Justin Samuels December 16, 2012 - 5:42 pm

The trains failed spectacularly during Sandy, which was far from the most powerful hurricane to hit the nation. You don’t want excessive reliance on trains, particularly if people have to get the hell out of town. It will be every man for himself, like it was in New Orleans……..

Someone December 13, 2012 - 9:06 pm

Will the MTA have a $148 30-day MetroCard in 2018?

Boris December 13, 2012 - 10:29 pm

It’s interesting that B&T did a full air quality analysis (as they probably do with every toll hike) and assumed that there is no adverse impact – because the cars that will no longer use the tolled bridges (due to the toll increase) will magically vanish into thin air. Simultaneously the MTA does admit that those cars may shift onto non-tolled routes, but somehow those emissions they produce don’t have to be counted. This is the problem with environmental impact reviews – they are local to each project and don’t account for external changes.

Nathanael December 16, 2012 - 10:51 am

Well, this is why the Manhattan, Brooklyn, Williamsburg, and Queensboro Bridges should be tolled. However, they’re congested enough that there’s unlikely to be a lot of diversion of traffic to them.

Nobody’s going to divert around the Bronx/Queens bridges via Manhattan!

So people who decide the tolls are too high will probably LEAVE THEIR CARS AT HOME and take the subway or commuter rail. Induced demand is real. Effectively, the cars will vanish into thin air.

Of course, the wrong-way lack of toll on the Verrazano also should be fixed to stop the “toll free one-way system” currently used by trucks (east through Staten Island, west through the Holland Tunnel).

Justin Samuels December 16, 2012 - 5:40 pm

One problem is, people in NYC who are the types politicians go after, you know, stable, long term residents (the types who bother to vote) tend to have cars anyway. Recent transplants not makling much money might not have cars, but most people at least a civil servant salary typically have cars.

JJJ December 15, 2012 - 12:56 am

The monthly should be cheaper, because as every business knows, guaranteed money in hand is superior to projected money.

They should encourage more people to buy them, maybe even introduce a 60 day card as well.

SEAN December 15, 2012 - 12:04 pm

Some transit systems have yearly passes like TriMet. In TriMet’s case it’s 12 monthlys at the cost of 11.

Alon Levy December 16, 2012 - 6:57 pm

At least it’s the lesser evil. JJJ is completely right that the monthly unlimited should be cheaper, not just because guaranteed money is superior but also because collection costs are lower when there are fewer transactions (e.g. you need fewer TVMs if a large majority of your riders have auto-refilling season passes).

Officially Coming March 1: $2.50 base fare, $112 monthly cards :: Second Ave. Sagas December 19, 2012 - 11:31 am

[…] details of the fare hike remain as I reported them last Thursday. In addition to the base fare and 30-day increases, the MTA will raise the cost of a seven-day card […]


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