Looking Into The Next MTA Fare Hike

There are two words that scare just about any rider regardless of what service branch of the MTA they use, fare hike. Unfortunately those two words will be tossed around a lot for the remainder of the year & into the next as the MTA dishes one out across the board in an attempt to raise revenue while attacking a huge budget deficit.

The talk really heated up of late when the New York Post first broke the potential specifics of the fare hike which included a “MetroCard Tax” of $1 & the elimination of off-peak fares on commuter railroads. Then we had talk about their being a cap put on the amount of rides provided by an “Unlimited” Weekly or Monthly MetroCard. Lastly, we all read about how single ride paper MetroCard tickets would rise to $2.50.

Tomorrow’s New York Times takes the latest look into the fare hike which includes a change in plans with off-peak fares on the Long Island Rail Road. Michael M. Grynbaum has more:

Riders of New York’s transportation system are about to learn a tough lesson of recessionary politics: In times of crisis, nothing is sacred. Some of the more hallowed, burned-into-your-brain assumptions of traveling around the region are now on the chopping block as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority seeks to curtail yet another budget deficit — this one projected at $400 million.

The off-peak discount on the Long Island Rail Road, for instance, would become smaller than it is now, meaning that riders would have to pay more to travel into the city on weekends, afternoons and late nights. Riders would also pay peak fares for morning trains that head east from Pennsylvania Station or Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, under a proposal being considered by transit officials.

And the authority intends to strain the English language, along with riders’ pocketbooks: limits could be placed on the so-called unlimited MetroCards, which offer monthly and weekly passes for the bus and subway system. The monthly pass, in turn, could cost about $100 a month, up from $89 today.

Analysts at the transportation agency had initially considered eliminating all off-peak railroad fares — as New Jersey Transit did this year — but that option was eventually discarded. Situations that involved fare increases of more than 10 percent were also considered, according to several individuals familiar with the plans who asked for anonymity because the discussions were intended to be confidential.

The “limited unlimited” plan, first reported by The New York Post, would cap the number of rides that can be taken on a monthly pass to about three a day, requiring heavier users of the system to pay more if they exceed the limit.

Other surcharges, like a $1 fee for obtaining a new MetroCard rather than refilling an old one, are expected to be levied as well.

Click here for the complete report.

Until the MTA releases official documentation on the fare hike, expect the details to keep changing. So at this point, the best I or anyone else can do in opining about it is to base it on potential. Either way you slice it, unless the MTA’s financial house gets corrected, we as riders will continue to pay more for less which is never good.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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