Monday was quite the busy day in the world of the MTA. As I mentioned previously, the board held an emergency meeting to approve new fare structures after Albany passed its MTA bailout package. The main news is the base fare will rise to $2.25, Unlimited Monthly MetroCards will rise to $89 as part of an overall 10% raise in fares. Lets first take a look at a press release sent out via e-mail by the MTA:
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board today approved the 10 percent fare and toll increase called for in the new funding legislation passed by the New York State Legislature last week. Commuter rail fares will begin to increase on June 17; fares on subways and buses will change on June 28; bridge and tunnel tolls will increase on July 12. The fare proposal is designed to increase fares on average by 10% and to achieve as close to a 10% increase as practicable across all fare instruments.
“Today we implemented a bittersweet solution that comes with additional pain for our customers, our employees and those who live and work in our region,” said H. Dale Hemmerdinger, Chairman of the MTA Board. “But it will – at least for the short term – prevent the Armageddon that loomed large when we last met.”
“The fare and toll increase passed today is not ideal, but it spares our customers from actions that would have been extraordinarily painful,” said Elliot G. Sander, MTA Executive Director and CEO. “Implementing severe fare increases and deep service cuts directly contradicts the MTA’s mission and my goals as CEO. It is a great relief to know we will be able to continue providing the service our customers expect at an affordable price.”
Subway and Bus Fares
• This fare proposal represents a relatively even application of the increase across all current fare instruments; most go up by 10%, with the single ride ticket and the bonus MetroCard having a slightly larger increase (12.5%).
Fare Type – Current – New – Change from Current:
Cash/Single Ride/Base MetroCard Fare: $2.00 – $2.25 – 12.5%
Bonus and Buy-in Threshold: 15% with $7 purchase ($1.74 per ride fare) – 15% with $8 purchase ($1.96 per ride fare) – 12.5%
1-Day: $7.50 – $8.25 – 10.0%
7-Day: $25.00 – $27.00 – 8.0%
14-Day: $47.00 – $51.50 – 9.6%
30-Day: $81.00 – $89.00 – 9.9%
Express Bus Cash/Single Ride: $5.00 – $5.50 – 10.0%
Express Bus Base MetroCard Fare: $5.00 – $5.50 – 10.0%
Express Bus Bonus Fare: $4.35 – $4.78 – 9.9%
Express Bus 7-Day Pass: $41.00 – $45.00 – 9.8%
MTA Bus Specific Changes:
The proposal continues changes to policy previously recommended to make bus fare policy consistent between MTA Bus express service and New York City Transit express service, including:
• Eliminating student reduced fare on all MTA Bus express service.
• Changing MTA Bus off-peak eligibility period for discounted fares for seniors and disabled customers on Northeast Bronx express routes to begin at 10 a.m. (instead of 9 a.m.) on weekdays.
Long Island Bus:
• LI Bus fare is consistent with NYC Transit.
• The formula for calculating the LI Bus Able Ride (paratransit) fare increases it to $3.75 from $3.50.
• Implements step-up charge for transfer to LI Bus from another transit service in an amount up to the fare differential (this applies to a few non-MTA services).
• Aligns age for senior discount with standard age 65 eligibility used by NYC transit services.
Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Metro-North Railroad (MNR):
• The vast majority of commuter rail tickets will increase between 9.75% and 10.75%.
• The average fare increase for both railroads to/from Manhattan is 10%.
• This proposal continues the proposed policy to reduce the Mail&Ride fare discount on the joint monthly railroad / unlimited ride MetroCard to 4% from 5%.
• Both railroads increase the on-board fare differential by $1.00.
• The proposal increases City Ticket by 25 cents (to $3.50 from $3.25).
• Proportionate changes are proposed to various other fares for connecting services (one way and UniTicket).
• The family fare does not increase.
• Intermediate full fares for LIRR and MNR East of Hudson service will increase from 7.1% to 20%; however, any increase of more than 11.75% is no more than 75 cents per ride.
o West of Hudson intermediate fares increase by as much as 33% to prevent the purchase of an intermediate MNR ticket that, when combined with a separate NJ Transit ticket, is less than the MNR fare. These intermediate services are not heavily used.
o Connecticut rates are under review by the State of Connecticut. As a result, some increases of New Haven Line stations in NY may have to increase in two stages.
Bridges and Tunnels:
• Cash and EZ-Pass tolls on the major and minor facilities increase by about 10%.
• Truck cash and EZ-Pass tolls increase by axle between 9.4% to 12.5%, except additional axles above 7 increase by 16.7%.
• The proposal continues the elimination of the E-Z Pass discount for non-NY Customer Service Center tag holders.
Cash Current – Cash New – Change – E-Z Pass Current – E-Z Pass New – Change:
Cars Major: $5.00 – $5.50 – 10.0% – $4.15 – $4.57 – 10.1%
Cars Minor: $2.50 – $2.75 – 10.0% – $1.55 – $1.71 – 10.3%
Henry Hudson Bridge: $2.75 – $3.00 – 9.1% – $1.90 – $2.09 – 10.0%
Now lets take a look at Sewell Chan & James Barron of the New York Times who had this to report:
The board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted on Monday to rescind a “doomsday” package of severe fare increases that had been enacted on March 25. As part of a financing deal approved by the State Legislature last week, the base subway and bus fare will rise from $2 to $2.25 on June 28 — instead of $2.50 — and the authority will avert layoffs. Commuter railroad fares will rise on June 17. And tolls on the bridges and tunnels operated by the authority will rise on July 12.
The threshold for obtaining a 15 percent bonus on pay-per-ride MetroCard will rise to $8 from $7. The cost of a seven-day unlimited-ride MetroCard will rise to $27 (instead of $31) from the current price of $25. The cost of a 14-day MetroCard will rise to $51.50 (instead of $59) from the current price of $47. The cost of a 30-day MetroCard will rise to $89 (instead of $103) from the current price of $81.
A vast majority of commuter rail tickets on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad will increase between 9.75 percent and 10.75 percent. Cash and E-ZPass tolls on the M.T.A. bridges and tunnels will increase by about 10 percent.
The meeting was a swan song of sorts for Elliot G. Sander, the chief executive of the authority since 2007, who submitted his resignation last week after the Legislature adopted the financing plan. The jobs of Mr. Sander, the top staff member at the authority, and of Mr. Hemmerdinger, the chairman, were combined and restructured as part of the financing plan, which also calls for a audit of the authority’s finances.
Mr. Hemmerdinger, who is generally thought to have the support of Gov. David A. Paterson, said he too did not expect to stay on as chairman, but indicated it was too early to say what his fate would be.
Click here for the complete report.
Lets take at a similar piece from the New York Daily News’ Pete Donohue:
Subway and bus fares will go up to $2.25 next month under a new scaled-back plan approved by the MTA board Monday after a state bailout.
The fare hikes of about 10% also include the monthly Metrocard, which will jump to $89 from $81, and the weekly Metrocard, which rises to $27 from $25.
Commuter railroad fares go up June 17, followed by subway and bus fares on June 28. Tolls go up July 12.
Click here for the complete report.
However as has been the case of late, this was not the only news to come out involving the MTA. Yesterday morning I blogged about a New York Daily News report which stated soon to be former MTA CEO/Executive Director Elliot Sander refused to promote a relative of Brooklyn Democratic Party Chairman Vito Lopez. Pete Donohue is still tracking the story & in his latest report talks about how politicians are staying quiet about this alleged incident:
The state’s most powerful pols had nothing to say Sunday about a Daily News exposé that claimed Brooklyn’s powerful Democratic leader tried to strong-arm departing MTA head Elliot Sander into promoting his son-in-law.
Gov. Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, MTA Inspector General Barry Kluger and other lawmakers were mum over the Page One report that Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn) demanded that Keith Summa, an engineer with the agency, get a higher-paying gig.
Lopez said the report, based on confidential sources, was false, and denied he ever asked Sander for a special favor.
A Silver spokesman had no comment; neither did Senate Republican Minority Leader Dean Skelos, who called the issue “an Assembly matter.”
Click here for the complete report.
Lastly, on the Elliot Sander replacement front, Elizabeth Benjamin of the New York Daily News takes a look at how State Senate Democrats are against Marc Shaw being the choice to replace Elliot Sander as head of the MTA:
Senate Democrats are dead set against restoring former MTA Executive Director Marc Shaw as the head of the troubled transit authority.
“It’s not going to happen; he is DOA right now,” said a source close to Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith (D-Queens), who predicted Shaw would fail to get the 32 votes necessary for confirmation in the Democrat-controlled chamber.
A spokesman for the Senate Republicans, for whom Shaw used to work, said the minority thinks Shaw is a “great guy.” But with just 30 votes in the chamber, they can’t provide sufficient support to push him through.
Shaw, who headed the MTA from 1996 to 2001, was Gov. Paterson’s lead negotiator on the $2.3 billion plan to bail out the cash-strapped authority – a plan that passed both houses of the state Legislature last week.
Democrats felt Shaw “ran roughshod” over them and “had his own agenda – the agenda of someone who wants to come in and run the place,” a Senate source said.
Shaw was thought to be a replacement-in-waiting for departing MTA Executive Director Elliot (Lee) Sander ever since he was brought in as a $178,000-a-year senior adviser to Paterson last November.
Click here for the complete report.
As I said, Monday was quite a busy day in the world of the MTA. I apologize for not blogging sooner. I usually blog right after board meetings but I had business matters to take care of that could not wait. As far as the meeting itself goes, it was what I expected to begin with.
Besides the obvious duties regarding approving new fare structures, saluting outgoing MTA CEO/Executive Director was on the menu. I felt the words shared to him were heartfelt & extremely accurate in terms of what he meant & will mean to the MTA moving forward in the present & future.
The speakers were a mix of the usual suspects for the most part. I was a little disappointed by Straphangers Campaign staff lawyer Gene Russianoff who came off flat with his message. I can’t recall the name of the old man who is always complaining about the Capital Program but he was more of the same. The young man who showcased marketing ideas for creating much needed revenue had good intentions but was unrealistic in his revenue forecasts. The defense of closing station booths was more of the same. This is an issue where I can see both sides but side with the psychological advantages that arrive from a physical presence.
However the main focus of the day was the new fare hikes that were approved. I for one am not happy with these new fare hikes but not for the typical reasons an average rider would be. I would rather pay more if it meant Albany coming up with legitimate & sustainable funding solutions. This fare hike reduction is nothing but a minor repair on a car that needs to be overhauled completely.
While MTA Board Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger & his fellow board members repeatedly stated this was the best proposal that was possible during these times, I say that is completely untrue. I honestly feel they know that but were saying the right things to appear gracious. Well to hell with graciousness & political correctness. Albany needs to be exposed for their leading role in the MTA’s financial meltdown. Anything less is completely unacceptable!
xoxo Transit Blogger