The MTA board will likely approve steep fare hikes tomorrow that will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2011.
Expect the monthly unlimited MetroCard to rise to $104 and a weekly unlimited pass to rise to $29. MTA chairman Jay Walder abandoned an earlier idea to cap the passes, a suggestion that enraged riders.
“I will reluctantly vote to approve this,” said Allen Cappelli, part of the 23-member MTA board that ultimately yays or nays a fare hike. “We’ve got to get the money from somewhere.”
The fare hike comes only three months after massive service cuts, but those cuts only saved $92 million, while a larger $800 million deficit loomed, created by state budget cuts and less revenue than expected from the payroll tax, said MTA officials. As part of a bailout package from Albany in 2009, the MTA agreed to raise fares in 2011.
There is more pain ahead for riders, as the MTA plans to raise fares again in 2013.
But one MTA board member, Andrew Albert, who does not have a vote, said riders have sacrificed enough for the MTA.
“This fare hike comes on the heels of one of the biggest service cuts in 35 years,” said Albert. “Riders need to get something for a fare hike — they met their obligation with the service cuts and last round of fare hikes in 2009.”
The state needs to better fund the MTA, said Albert.