Amid a storm of criticism, the board of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted 12 to 2 Thursday to approve a fare increase—the third in three years—for users of its subways, regional railroads, and buses. It becomes effective Dec. 30.
Fares will go up for subway and bus MetroCard users in varying degrees. Base fares for subways and buses will be $2.50, up 25 cents; a 30-day unlimited card, now $89, will climb to $104. A weekly unlimited card will also go up to $29, from $27, and there will be a $1 surcharge for new MetroCard purchases.
But due in part to public input, the weekly and monthly MetroCards will retain their unlimited travel feature.
“An overwhelming majority of transit customers told us that keeping 7-Day and 30-Day passes that provide for unlimited travel is preferred to a capped pass,” MTA CEO and Chair Jay Walder said in a letter to the board prior to the vote. “It was clear that the unlimited pass has become a fundamental part of life for many users of the NYC Transit system, encouraging ridership by both offering a steep discount and eliminating the need to worry about monitoring how often one uses the system. We heard that message; and in this proposal the weekly and monthly transit passes remain unlimited.”Still, the price of a monthly MetroCard will have risen 65% since it was introduced in 1998 at a cost of $63.
Distance-based Fares on Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road will rise 7% to 14%.
Two board members who voted against the increases said they were unjustified in view of recent service cuts. “This fare plan hits our best customers with the heftiest fare hike,” said Andrew Albert, a nonvoting board member and chairman of the New York City Transit Riders Council. “This comes on the heels of the worst service decreases in years. Higher fares and service cuts are a lose-lose for riders.”