The MTA released two proposed plans to raise public transit fares on Monday.
The fares and tolls are expected to increase by 4 percent over the next two years, according to the MTA. The two proposals will be presented during a series of public hearings in December, and the MTA board will vote on the increases in January. The hikes are set to start in March 2015.
The first proposal would increase single rides by 25 cents to $2.75, but also increase the bonus for putting $5.50 or more on a MetroCard from 5 percent to 11 percent. Proposal 1 would increase a single ride fare from $2.75 to $3.
Single ride rates would stay the same in the second proposal, but riders would not be eligible for a bonus when adding money to a MetroCard.
Both proposals would increase a monthly unlimited card by $4.50 a month -- from $112 to $116.50 -- and bump up a weekly unlimited card by $1 to $31 total.
There would also be increases in area bridges, tunnels and train tickets.
MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said the “modest increase” in MTA fares and tolls are necessary to balance the budget and keep public transit moving.
Prendergast said the MTA has already cut $1 billion in expenses, and more cuts are planned through 2017. Fares and tolls make up a little more than half of the $13 million operating budget, according to the MTA.
The MTA has identified a $15.2 billion gap in their five year Capital Program, starting in 2015.
A report released last month by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office said the deficit would likely fall upon the riders -- a 1 percent increase for every billion dollars borrowed -- if the funding gap is not filled.
John Raskin, executive director for Rider's Alliance, called rate hikes "unsustainable" and "regressive way to pay for an essential public service."
"The fare hike has been long in the making, but what's really troubling is that if out elected officials in Albany don't come up with a better way to fund the next MTA capital plan, there are even larger fare increases lurking around the corner," Raskin said.
For more information on the proposals, as well as a schedule of the public hearings, visit http://www.mta.info/.