The MTA board unanimously voted on Wednesday to hike subway and bus fares to buoy the cash-strapped agency, making it the third time in three years that New Yorkers will have to pay more to commute.
The board voted to raise prices for a single bus or subway ride by 25 cents to $2.50. A monthly MetroCard pass will cost $112, up nearly 8 percent from the previous price of $104. Commuter rail increases will average about 9 percent. The increases are scheduled to take effect March 1.
In a separate vote, the MTA voted to increase bridge tolls on several major crossings by 50 cents for E-ZPass users and by $1 for drivers who pay cash. A discount is expected to be implemented for Staten Island residents.
The increases are expected to bring in an additional $450 million a year for the MTA, which was struggling to close its budget deficit even before Sandy caused $5 billion in damage to the system.
Board member Andrew Albert called the hike "the best of a bad lot" of options.
Several board members expressed reluctance to support the fare hikes, but voted in favor of them.
MTA Chairman and CEO Joe Lhota said the fare hike was "part of a deal struck in 2009." Lhota said he would step down as MTA chair at the end of the year as he explores a possible run for mayor of New York City, transit sources told NBC 4 New York on Tuesday.
Lhota has lead the MTA for less than a year, but was widely praised for quickly getting the transit system back on track following unprecedented devastation from Sandy.
A registered Republican, Lhota served as former Mayor Rudy Giuliani's budget director, finance commissioner and deputy mayor for operations before moving to the private sector. Giuliani has endorsed him as a possible candidate in recent weeks.