MTA Chief Eyeing Late-Night Discounts, Just Not Now

This follows a report Thursday that said MTA chairman was exploring a new pricing structure that allowed for cheaper fares during off peak hours

By Eric Luu
|  Friday, Oct 23, 2009  |  Updated 1:45 PM EDT
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MTA Chief Eyeing Late-Night Discounts, Just Not Now

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Commuters board the 4 train in the Grand Central Terminal subway station.

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It seemed like things were looking up for straphangers when a report Thursday said Walder was looking to adopt a pricing system that would change a century-old fare structure by offering off-peak discounts for riders.

Sounds like encouraging news, but wait, there's more.

Officials now say the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has not decided on whether to provide riders with off-peak fares for subway and bus riders and has no immediate plans, according tot he Daily News.

Walder has talked about the potential of a "smartcard" program, which includes varying fares during different periods of the day and weekends.

The MTA will eventually put the system in effect, but that’s years down the road.

"When the MetroCard was introduced in the 1990s, ridership increased because the MTA was able to provide new benefits and greater flexibility to riders, from free transfers to unlimited ride cards," Jeremy Soffin, an MTA spokesman, said in a statement Thursday, the Daily News reported.

"As we move toward a new, contact less fare system, technology once again offers new opportunities.

"One possibility is to look at a variety of pricing options, such as offering more attractive pricing when we have capacity to carry more people and enhance use of the system."

The goal would be to provide more flexible fares while still maintaing revenue goals.

"It is too soon to even know what all of the possibilities are, but the MTA is committed to thinking creatively as we move forward with innovative new technology," he said

The MetroCard riders use today is capable of allowing flexible fares. The MTA considered adopting the plans in 2007, but eventually backed off after it considered the loss in revenue.

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