MTA Fare, Toll Hike Won’t Take Effect in March as Scheduled Amid L Train, Benchmark Questions

What to Know

  • The MTA has postponed its planned vote on how to break down the looming subway and bus fare hike until next month
  • The agency was expected to vote on the structure of the hike, but its Acting Chairman approved a motion to table the vote until February
  • The hike would have gone into effect in March if the vote had taken place and approved it

The MTA's latest fare hike won't take effect in March as scheduled amid L train and benchmark questions that prompted the Board to delay a vote on the hike breakdown Thursday. 

The agency was expected to vote on the structure of the hike -- whether there should be a base fare increase or elimination of the bonus -- but the MTA's Acting Chairman Fernando Ferrer approved a motion to table the vote until February.

The hike would have gone into effect in March if the vote had taken place and approved it, but it will now be delayed, Ferrer noted. The timing of a new potential hike was unclear as of Thursday. 

Transit sources told News 4 that uncertainty over the L train, as well as a last-minute proposal by a board member to have no fare increase unless the MTA meets certain benchmarks, compelled the board to delay the vote. 

Board members were planning to weigh three different options during the vote. The first option -- raise the base fare to $3 and keep a 10 percent bonus for buying monthly MetroCards. The second -- keep the base fare at $2.75, but eliminate the bonus. The third choice is one that commuters may like the best -- no fare hike unless the MTA meets certain performance goals.

If the board ultimately chooses the latter option, it could trigger a two-week holding pattern and more public hearings would be held before any vote takes place. The fare hike had been set to take effect in March. 

On Tuesday, MTA committee members were met with an earful from riders imploring them not to approve the long-planned fare hike, something commuters have been dreading.

In a statement, the MTA said its "board will have a robust discussion and decide on the best course of action in the context of the MTA's dire financial position, which requires fare and toll increases as well as new, sustainable, adequate sources of funding in order to balance the budget while avoiding painful service cuts."

The MTA approved a $17 billion budget for 2019 last December that assumes a series of broad fare hikes.

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