MTA discusses possible fare increases


NEW YORK– The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) released a statement Oct. 15 revealing a proposed hike in the cost of fares and tolls. MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota said the hike is due to debt service, pensions, energy, paratransit and employee health care cost that continue to rise beyond the rate of inflation.

“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,” Lhota said.

As of now, the MTA has released four proposals designed to cut controllable expenses and raise the needed revenue. Each proposal differs in the way it handles the base fare, the time-based unlimited-ride MetroCards, and the MetroCard bonus discount. They are outlined as Proposals 1A, 1B, 2A and 2B on the MTA website.

Proposals 1A and 1B would raise the base fare (now $2.25, or $2.10 with the seven percent discount that comes with putting at least $10 on a pay-per-ride card) to $2.50, or $2.34 with the same bonus discount.

Under the first option (1A), the 30-day unlimited MetroCard would raise from $104 to $112, and the 7-day card would go from $29 to $30. The second proposal (1B) would eliminate the bonus discount, while leaving the seven-day card cost unaltered. The 30-day pass would rise to $109.

The two alternative proposals (2A and 2B) would leave the base fare at its current price. Proposal 2A would reduce the bonus discount to five percent, increasing per-trip fare to $2.14. The unlimited 30-day rate and the seven-day passes would rise to $125 and $34, respectively. Under Proposal 2B, the 30-day card would be $119, and the seven-day, $32; the seven percent bonus discount would be eliminated.

The review process of toll proposals began in October and will continue into mid-December. After a process of public review, the new fare and toll rates will go into effect early March 2013.

"The public will have significant input into our decision-making process," Lhota said, describing the need to balance the necessity of revenue with public involvement. "In the spirit of transparency, the public will assist in shaping our fare policy."