The MTA unveiled a series of new proposals for fare hikes on its rails, bridges and subways Monday, introducing yet another round of possible cost increases that could send straphangers digging deeper into their wallets.
Four of the proposals specifically involve changing MetroCard rates and any of them, if implemented, could help the cash-strapped agency raise about $230 million, the MTA said.
Under one proposal, bus and subway patrons would pay up to $125 for a monthly unlimited MetroCard, an increase of $21. The price of unlimited weekly MetroCards would increase $5 to $34. The base $2.25 fare for single bus and subway rides would remain unchanged, but the 7 percent advance purchase bonus would be slashed to 5 percent.
The second scheme calls for an increase in base fare to $2.50 but lower increases for weekly and monthly unlimited MetroCards, from $29 to $30 and $104 to $112, respectively. Under that plan, the bonus stays the same.
A third option calls for the $0.25 base fare increase, a bump of $5 for monthly unlimited MetroCards, no change in weekly unlimited fares and no change in the 7 percent bonus.
The final plan suggests maintaining the current base fare, eliminating the bonus entirely and increasing the weekly and monthly unlimited MetroCards to $32 and $119, respectively.
The MTA also proposed the following changes for its bridges, rails and express buses:
- Long Island Rail Road and Metro North fares would go up about 9 percent
- Tolls for most bridges and tunnels would go up $0.50 for E-ZPass drivers and $1 for cash drivers
- Tolls for the Henry Hudson Bridge would go up $0.23 for E-ZPass drivers and $1 for cash drivers
- Express bus fares increase from $5.50 to $6 or remain $5.50 for base fares but increase from $50 to either $52, $55 or $57 for week-long passes
The MTA will hold public hearings in the five boroughs on the proposed fare and toll hikes in November and the board will vote on a final budget in December.
“Costs that the MTA does not exercise control over, namely those for debt service, pensions, energy, paratransit, and employee and retiree health care, continue to increase beyond the rate of inflation,” MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph Lhota said in a statement. “We are grappling with long-term measures to reduce these frustrating and difficult non-discretionary expenses, but today, they are the drivers of the need for a fare and toll increase.”