New York lawmakers call for $2.75 fare freeze and free bus pilot in NYC

March 16, 2023

Image via WikiCommons

New York lawmakers on Tuesday proposed keeping New York City subway and bus fares at $2.75. As first reported by Crain’s New York, the state legislature’s one-house budgets rejected Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposal to raise transit fares to $3, and instead called for a freeze on fares and an investment of $50 million for a free bus pilot program.

To help fund the cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority, lawmakers said the state should provide the transit agency $196.6 million to avoid any fare hike, create residential parking permits for the city, add a surcharge for rideshare platforms like Uber and Lyft, and raise the corporate franchise tax.

The legislature also recommended funding a pilot program for NYC buses that would introduce free bus rides while simultaneously improving the speed, security, and accessibility of the bus system.

“These one-houses come at a time of skyrocketing costs of living, and we are proud that the legislature is choosing now to begin a free bus pilot. This will ensure that working-class New Yorkers are not barred from accessing fundamental activities and receive financial relief – all while making the bus system faster, safer and universally accessible,” Sen. Michael Gianaris and Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani said in a statement.

“For too long, Albany has allowed the MTA to be funded by regular fare hikes on working-class riders who depend on it the most. However, the MTA – like sanitation and firefighting – is a public good. We are proud that these budget resolutions recognize it as such and commit to raising revenue from the wealthy to fund the lifeblood of our city.”

Last December, the MTA announced that the cost of a subway or bus ride in NYC could increase to more than $3 per trip by 2025 under a set of proposed fare hikes. What was originally supposed to be a four percent fare hike was increased to 5.5 percent due to the MTA’s monumental budget deficits. The fare hike was proposed to prevent the MTA from going over a “fiscal cliff,” or when the agency runs out of the $15.1 billion it was granted in federal emergency operating aid.

The fare increase comes as New Yorkers have expressed dissatisfaction with the subway system. In its latest survey of customer satisfaction, the MTA reported that 54 percent of subway riders were satisfied with the service, up by six percentage points from results released last September.

Budget negotiations will continue until April 1 when the final budget is due.


Get Inspired by NYC.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *