No way to get around it — Metrocards are going to get more expensive next year, and then again in 2015 and 2017.
The MTA released its 2013 budget today, and officials concretely promised to raise fares in 2013 and then again in 2015.
Combined fare and toll increases will bring in $450 million in 2013, and $500 million in 2015, according to the MTA.
The budget plan leaves the MTA with “fragile stability,” according to the budget.
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“I’m pleased that we will be able to keep the MTA’s budget in balance despite our challenges, but I am concerned about the long-term trend in our expenses,” MTA chairman Joseph J. Lhota said in a statement.
Lhota has said in the past there will very likely be a third fare hike in 2017.
The MTA will hold public hearings about the proposed fare increase in November, and they will vote in December for a fare increase to take effect in March. The MTA originally said fares would be raised in January, but announced earlier this month it would be pushed back 60 days. Lhota said he wanted to delay the hike as long as possible.
Ya-Ting Liu from transit advocacy group Transportation Alternatives testified before the MTA board yesterday, asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo to step in and stop the fare hikes.
New Yorkers are feeling “the frustration of being fed a steady diet of fare increases without corresponding improvements in service,” Liu said.
Higher fares coming but rats still abound
Greg Russianoff, staff attorney at the rider advocacy group Straphangers Campaign, said he was nervous that the MTA would consider implementing cost-saving measures they had otherwise disregarded, such as limiting the amount of swipes with an unlimited pass.
Riders will likely not see many changes in return for the increase, he said.
“That’s the problem,” he said. “This morning when I was feeling in a foul mood toward [the MTA] I was getting on my train in Park Slope, and there was a rat that ran across the platform. A lot of people don’t think it’s fair, given what their daily commutes are like."
How high could fares go?
A 30-day unlimited card was $76 in 2007. Today it is $104. Details on how much the fare increase will be were not yet available, Russianoff pointed out that in 2010, the fare for a 30-day unlimited Metrocard increased 17 percent, from $89 to $104. If the fare jumps 17 percent again, the new cost would be $122.