The MTA has approved its sweeping 2013 fare hike
It's finally official: Your MetroCard fare is going up, and it's not a pretty picture.
The MTA Board Wednesday unanimously approved a sweeping hike that will hit virtually every type of MetroCard, the same day that chief Joe Lhota said he'll step down, presumably to pursue an expected run for mayor.
Under the new fare system, the monthly unlimited MetroCard will rise to $112, an $8 increase. Weekly cards will cost a dollar more at $30, and the base fare for a single ride will increase by a quarter to $2.50. The pay-per-ride bonus will drop to 5% from 7%, but will kick in at $5 instead of the current $10.
The hike, which follows increases in 2008, 2009 and 2011, is set to go into effect March 1 and is expected to raise $450 million yearly for the agency.
Board members said they approved the increase with great reluctance, but that without state aid or a wholesale change in how public transportation is funded, they had no choice.
"Unfortunately, after looking at everything, it's the only option we have," said board member Mitchell Pally, adding that the MTA is already planning for another 7.5% fare increase in 2015. "We'll be in the same place doing the same thing unless we do something different."
Many transit advocates agreed that while the final fare increase plan was the best of several bad options, the agency is placing too much burden on riders.
"At some point -- and for some it's already been reached -- the transit system becomes unaffordable," said Andrew Albert, the nonvoting New York City Transit Riders Council representative on the board.
Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign has long said Albany needs to step in and help the perpetually troubled finances of the MTA.
"Under any financial plan ... new aid from Albany will be needed in the coming years," he said.
He added that with 2015's expected hike, the frequency of increases means the "riding public paying more than their fair share and that it will pose real hardship on many of your riders.
And some politicians, such as Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), said the hike is unfair to straphangers.
"The last thing residents need, especially now, is to be treated like the MTA's personal piggy," he said.
"Lhota deserves accolades for his leadership ," Cymbrowitz said, "but this shouldn't be his parting gift to New Yorkers."
The MTA's fare hike proposal raises prices across the board. Here are the key points:
-- Monthly unlimited ride MetroCard rises to $112 from $104
-- Weekly unlimited ride card rises to $30 from $29
-- Base fare for subways and buses rises to $2.50 from $2.25
-- Pay-per-ride bonus drops to 5% from 7%, but kicks in at $5 instead of the current $10