Monday, October 15, 2012

New York subway riders face 11% fare hike

Written by  Luther S. Miller, Senior Consulting Editor

New York City's subways, which boast a daily ridership of more than five million, may raise single fares 11% from $2.25 to $2.50 next year or seek an equal increase in revenue through changes in incentives.

Similar fare and toll increases are in store for all of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority's buses, regional railroads, and other properties. The proposals were announced over the weekend and presented to reporters on Monday.

MTA said the higher fares will produce "vitally needed revenue to support the New York region's transportation system."

"Costs that the MTA does not exercise control over, namely those for debt service, pensions, energy, paratransit, and employee and retiree health care, continue to increase beyond the rate of inflation," said MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota. "We are grappling with long-term measures to reduce these frustrating and difficult non-discretionary expenses, but today, they are the drivers of the need for a fare and toll increase."

The proposals will be subject to modification after the public review process and will be considered for adoption by the MTA Board at its December 19 meeting. The new fare and toll rates would go into effect on or about March 1, 2013.

As an example of the alternatives it is offering for all of its services, MTA said "a slate of four alternative proposals for subway and local bus fares, each of which is projected to increase revenue by the same aggregate amount. The proposals, labeled 1A, 1B, 2A and 2B, differ in the way they treat the base fare, the time-based unlimited-ride MetroCards, and the MetroCard bonus discount of 7% that customers receive for putting at least $10 on a pay-per-ride card. The current base fare is $2.25, or effectively $2.10 with the bonus discount. The current cost for a 30-day unlimited card is $104; a 7-day card costs $29."