The board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted on Wednesday to increase the fares for weekly and monthly MetroCards while eliminating the pay-per-ride bonus. On April 21, the price of a monthly pass will rise from $121 to $127 and a weekly pass from $32 to $33, as reported by amNY. The base fare will remain at $2.75.
The fare hike is the sixth since 2009 when the state legislature approved a plan that increases fares every other year, but the first time since Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the system in 2017.
The fare hike was seen as a necessary, but unfortunate, decision by many board members. “This place is not managed efficiently, and the riders are getting screwed,” board member Andrew Saul said, as amNY reported.
“I don’t think anyone relishes this vote today, but I think it’s important to keep this agency running,” Polly Trottenberg, the city’s transportation commissioner, said during Wednesday’s meeting, according to the New York Times.
Tolls on MTA bridges and tunnels will see a four percent increase over the next two years, starting on March 31. The fare and toll increase comes as the agency is facing at a budget deficit of $991 million by 2022. The fare hike was estimated to bring an extra $316 million per year to the agency.
On Tuesday, Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio released a joint 10-point plan endorsing congestion pricing as well as a reorganization of the MTA. In addition to calling for a congestion pricing plan as a funding source, the plan wants revenue from a new internet sales tax and the cannabis excise tax to fund capital needs of the MTA.
Another major reform in Cuomo and de Blasio’s plan includes centralizing the functions of the NYC Transit Authority, Metro-North, MTA Capital Construction, MTA Bus, and Staten Island Railway, which currently operate individually, into a single entity. The proposed reforms need approval from state lawmakers.
Even if the state legislature votes to approve a congestion pricing plan, the MTA is still facing a financial crisis. On Wednesday, the agency announced it would have to make service and staff cuts. MTA Acting Chair Fernando Ferrer warned if congestion pricing does not pass in Albany, fares would need to be increased by 30 percent.
“No more tinkering. No more nibbling around the edges,” Ferrer said in a press release. “The MTA’s new leadership team will accept nothing less than large-scale, organizational reform. This work will build on the 10-point plan released by the Governor and Mayor yesterday, as well as the success we’ve seen through the Subway Action Plan.”
- Cuomo and de Blasio endorse congestion pricing and reorganization of MTA in new 10-point plan
- MTA touts subway improvements as more service disruptions lie in wait
- MTA board delays vote on proposed fare hike