The price of an AirTrain ride to John F. Kennedy and Newark Airports will rise to $8.25 next month, according to the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which runs the service.
The agency’s 2023 budget, adopted in December, notes that the fare will rise by 25 cents from its current position at $8 on the shuttle service connecting transit commuters to the region’s international airports. That comes just a year after the Port Authority raised the fare to the present rate from $7.75.
The increased fare, which is pegged to automatically rise with inflation, will take effect on March 5. Reached for comment, a Port Authority spokesperson directed amNewYork Metro to a previous December press release on the agency’s budget.
“This budget makes the most of our efforts to recover the $3 billion of lost revenues that the agency experienced during the first two years of COVID, and emerge as a leaner, more efficient operation,” said Port Authority executive director Rick Cotton in a December statement. “Our 2023 budget acknowledges the difficult economic environment that we all face, while providing the necessary resources to maintain, improve and grow our assets responsibly to the benefit of the entire region.”
Inflation is also the culprit for a $1 increase in tolls planned by the Port Authority this year.
AirTrains ferry passengers from major transit stops to the airport terminals at JFK and Newark. The JFK AirTrain has two lines, one going from Jamaica and the other from Howard Beach; rides are free between the terminals, but passengers must dole out the hefty fare to connect to the wider transit system.
There are no free transfers between the subway and the AirTrain, meaning one passenger must fork over $11 to get to the city’s international airports on transit. A family of four would be out $44 for the commute to their flight; taxi fare to JFK was recently raised to a flat $70.
AirTrains also do not accept OMNY, only allowing those swiping MetroCards to enter the system, and the Port Authority has indicated it does not plan to integrate OMNY into the system.
Transit advocates say the bulky fare discourages riders from taking transit to the airport, and by extension incentivizes driving or taking a cab or Uber. Passengers heading to and from LaGuardia Airport — which does not have an AirTrain, and likely never will after Gov. Kathy Hochul halted the controversial planned shuttle by her predecessor, seeking alternative proposals — can hop on the Q70 Select Bus for free.
Some advocates say the fare should be eliminated completely.
“Governor Hochul should encourage air travelers to ride transit to JFK Airport. A fare hike, whether on the subway or AirTrain, does just the opposite. The AirTrain fare should be cut or eliminated,” said Danny Pearlstein, spokesperson for the Riders Alliance, a straphanger advocacy group. “Just the fact that there’s an AirTrain fare at all, and no free transfer to the bus, subway, or Long Island Rail Road — and the state is undertaking a multibillion-dollar highway expansion cutting through Jamaica to JFK — displays virtually everything inequitable and inefficient about public transit in New York.”