MTA's official 'doomsday' fare hike
New Yorkers may up end paying $103 for monthly MetroCards
(RJ Mickelson, amNY)
By Marlene Naanes
It might not be a happy new year for New Yorkers after all.
Subway and bus riders could pay up to $103 for a monthly pass, lose their bonus on MetroCards or pay as much as $3 a ride under two doomsday proposals released by the MTA yesterday.
Its a tsunami of a fare hike, Gene Russianoff, Straphangers Campaign staff attorney, said in a statement. Its a nightmare, particularly at a time when [New Yorkers are] struggling to make ends meet.
Unlimited MetroCards would go up about 25 percent under one proposal that distributes the hike among all fares whether its on daily or bonus cards and brings a monthly pass to $103, a $22 hike.
The second proposal eliminates the bonus on MetroCards but also softens the blow to unlimited passes, including the monthly that would go up to $99.
Eliminating the 15 percent bonus that riders now get when they put $7 or greater on a MetroCard bristled transit advocates.This would make it harder for lower-income riders to obtain a discount, Russianoff said. If the proposal is adopted, these riders would need to have $31 in their pockets the price of a seven-day unlimited-ride discount MetroCard to obtain any discount.
The MTA will hold public hearings on the hike proposals and service cuts beginning on Jan. 14.
The agencys board will vote on the proposals in March to implement them beginning in June.
Albany can take a major amount of the sting out of either proposal by passing recommendations from a governor-appointed commission, including a payroll tax and new tolls on East River bridges. Under those recommendations, fares would go up only 8 percent.
Under an 8 percent hike, the MetroCard bonus could actually go up to 20 percent under one proposal, and the MetroCard base fare would remain at $2 under the proposal that eliminates the bonus.
Albany would likely need to act before March.
[The proposals] make clear that theres no good way to implement such a big increase, and we hope the Ravitch Commission recommendations will be implemented to make them unnecessary, MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin said in a statement.