If the Metropolitan Transit Authority continues to raise fares at the same rate, subway and bus fares would soar 50 percent over the next decade, according to a new report.
Based on the pattern of recent MTA fares hikes, a single subway ride will cost $3.75 in 2023, the Independent Budget Office said.
"Given the financial pressures the MTA will face over the next decade, some fare increases are likely," the office's report concluded, noting the timing of hikes could be different in reality.
The Straphanger's Campaign, which requested the analysis, was concerned by the numbers.
"Constant fare hikes will overburden riders, discourage use of mass transit and cannot be sustained over time," Gene Russianoff, staff attorney for the transit watchdog, said in a statement.
The analysis assumed subway and bus fare increases of 8.4 percent, a rate the MTA used this year and in 2011.
If the rate holds, a 30-day MetroCard would cost $138 in ten years. A seven-day would increase to $45 from $30.
After the board said they would need to increase fares again at an annual hearing last week, an MTA spokesman said the "pattern of regular but modest" fare increases helps create a predictable funding stream.
The MTA "is operating with unprecedented levels of budget transparency and discipline," spokesman Adam Lisberg said.
According to the report, the average trip costs $1.76 for riders, a relatively modest increase of 38 cents since 1996, adjusted for inflation.
But Russianoff shrugged this off, pointing out that the 30-day MetroCard has gone from $63 to $112 in the same period.
The report also noted that the MTA relies on fare revenue more than other transit operators in cities like Boston and Philadelphia.
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