Looks like cash-strapped straphangers are going to have to stretch their wallets a little bit further.
The MTA, facing an $800 million dollar budget shortfall, is expected to vote Thursday on a fare hike of both the monthly and weekly Metrocards.
In the proposal, the monthly Metrocard would be increased by 17%, shooting up the price from $89 to $104, making it the most expensive in the county. The weekly card will also be likely to increase from $27 to $29 dollars. The $2.25 base fare will stay the same.
“Our goal was to try to increase revenue by 7.5% while keeping ridership at its existing levels and also not putting too much of a burden on our lower-income customers,” said MTA spokesperson Aaron Donovan.
Along with the fare hikes, other parts of the proposal include reducing the amount of bonus given on the $10 dollar metrocard from 15% to 8%, and a $1 surcharge for obtaining a new Metrocard.
“We’re hoping that this encourages New Yorkers to re-use their old metrocards, rather than repeatedly getting new ones,” said Donovan. He added that this proposal should save the MTA money on printing costs.
Despite the fare increases, many New Yorkers feel that they have no other option.
“It’s obviously inconvenient, but it’s still cheaper than taking a taxi,” says Venus Tsang, an NYU student living in Gramercy. “I’ll probably just keep taking the subway exactly the same way as I have been.”
An earlier proposal to keep the price of the monthly card under $100 but to cap the amount of bus or subway rides at 90 was swiftly rejected.
In light of the grim news, New Yorkers can take a small amount of solace in the fact that there are no service cuts included in the proposal, and none are planned for the immediate future.
Commuters from the suburbs will also be forced to face fare hikes, as the LIRR will increase prices from 5.5% to 11.5%, while Metro-North riders will see price jumps ranging from 3.8% to 14.3%.