Thursday, October 22, 2009

MTA considers time-of-day subway pricing

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New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority is weighing time-of-day pricing for its subway service, offering lower fares (classified as “discounts”) for late-night and weekend use. MTA Chairman Jay H. Walder is advancing the idea, citing its successful implementation in other cities, including London.

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A new computerized, scannable fare card would allow MTA New York City Transit to charge passengers different prices depending on the time ofday, Walder said. “We might imagine that we offer discounts at later times, or we offer weekend discounts,” the chairman said in a newspaper interview.“Time-of-day pricing might be very attractive.”

Though the subway is lagging behind even many U.S. rail transit properties on this matter, time-of-day pricing is in place on numerous toll roads, bridges, and tunnels in the New York metropolitan area, and MTA regional railroads traditionally have offered varying fares for peak or off-peak travel. But the city’s subway, which first began running in 1904, historically has charged a flat fee regardless of time of day or of distance traveled.