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Continuing this summer’s subway saga, Mayor de Blasio announced a plan on Sunday that would tax the wealthiest 1 percent of New Yorkers to fund the system’s much-need repairs and renovations. The proposal, which requires Albany’s approval, would also provide half-price MetroCards for low-income straphangers. As the New York Times reported, the “millionaires tax” would increase the tax rate of the city’s wealthiest residents to 4.4 percent from roughly 3.9 percent for married couples with incomes over $1 million and for individuals who make more than $500,000 annually.
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In light of NYC’s recent subway fare hike that bumped the price of a monthly pass to $121, the data jocks at ValuePenguin took a look at public transportation systems throughout the U.S. and ranked them according to affordability, based on the cost of a pass as a percentage of income and the median income of the city’s commuters. Among the findings: New York City’s transit system isn’t the most unaffordable; that honor goes to Los Angeles. Washington D.C. topped the most affordable list among large cities, followed by San Francisco and Boston.
Read on for more insight on the cost of a commute
This morning MTA officials voted in favor of a subway and bus fare hike, which will go into effect March 19, writes The Times. The transit agency opted not to increase per-ride costs to $3, as previously floated, but to instead up monthly and weekly MetroCard prices from $116.50 and $31 to $121 and $32, respectively. Moreover, although the base price of a ride will not see an increase, there will be a decrease in the “bonus” riders get when they add money to their cards. This will drop from 11 percent to just 5 percent.
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At a board meeting over the summer, the MTA began discussions about increasing subway and bus fare to $3 by 2017 “in an effort to raise more than $300 million annually,” as 6sqft reported at the time. The Daily News has now learned that the agency will officially recommend the four-percent increase at their board meeting next week. Though they’ll be passing on another option that would’ve kept fares at $2.75, the hike will increase the bonuses that come with re-loading one’s MetroCard from 11 to 16 percent, “an extra 96 cents for every $6 purchase.”
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The ye-olde MetroCard swipe has made national headlines in recent weeks, thanks to Hilary Clinton’s inability to get through the turnstile and Bernie Sanders’ belief that we’re still in the dark ages using subway tokens. The fact that these snafus are so attention-grabbing goes to show how intrinsic the simple act of swiping a MetroCard is to New Yorkers’ daily lives, which makes today’s announcement that the MTA is seeking proposals for ways to pay for subway rides with “contactless media” like smart cards or mobile devices all the more emotionally charged. Though the Post notes that this wouldn’t take effect until at least 2021, 6sqft wants to know if you’ll lament the days of “please swipe again.”
Turnstile image via Phil Hollenback/Flickr; Hillary Clinton image via FiveThirtyEight/Twitter