All the MTA Fare Hikes of the Last 100 Years

Posted On Mon, March 23, 2015 By

Posted On Mon, March 23, 2015 By In History, Transportation, Video

The MTA’s latest fare hike went into full effect yesterday, but instead of just lamenting over another 25 cents lost, we’re taking stock of all the ride increases over the last 100 years (gluttons for punishment?). We’ve also uncovered a catchy little commercial created by the New York City Transit Authority back in the ’60s, released as a way to encourage folks to hop on a train to enjoy one of the city’s most momentous events—The World’s Fair—during what was also one of its most tumultuous times.

historic nyc subway for the world's fair

Technically speaking, the MTA wasn’t officially created until 1968 and the subway and buses were simply considered to be part of the NYC Transit system. But here’s a timeline of the increases that have been incurred since October 27, 1904, when the subway first opened:

  • 1904 – 1948: 5 cents
  • 1948 – 1953: 10 cents
  • 1953 – 1966: 15 cents. Subway customers bought tickets to pay their fare until May 10, 1920. Coin-operated subway turnstiles took nickels and then dimes when the fare became ten cents. Tokens replaced coins in 1953, when the fare rose to 15 cents, since turnstiles couldn’t handle two different coins.
  • 1966 – 1970: 20 cents
  • 1970 – 1971: 30 cents
  • 1972 – 1975: 35 cents
  • 1975 – 1980: 50 cents
  • 1980 – 1981: 60 cents
  • 1981 – 1984: 75 cents
  • 1984 – 1985: 90 cents
  • 1986 – 1989: $1
  • 1990 – 1991: $1.15
  • 1992 – 1995: $1.25
  • 1995 – 2003: $1.50. The MTA also began allowing free transfers between buses and subways in 1997.
  • 2003 – 2009: $2
  • 2009 – 2010: $2.25
  • 2013 – March 21, 2015: $2.50
  • March 22, 2015: $2.75

The latest fare increase will stay in place until 2017, when it will be upped again. The MTA now has biennial fare hikes incorporated into its operating budgets.

And just for fun, in 1964—when it was apparently way more fun to ride the subway—the NYC Transit Authority created the promotional video below to encourage people to take the train to The World’s Fair. However cheery it may be, the video was actually released at the height of the civil rights movement when there was plenty of unrest and fear permeating the city streets.

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All images courtesy of the NY Transit Museum

historic nyc subway photo

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