By Hilary Russ
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City subway riders will not face a 25-cent hike on the system's base $2.75 fare, but the cost of weekly, monthly and bonus MetroCards will rise, the Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA) said on Wednesday.
New York State's MTA, which operates the city's subway system and commuter railroads, faced public pressure to avoid the 9 percent increase on the base fare after hiking it in 2013 and 2015.
However, the MTA board voted on Wednesday to increase the price for a monthly unlimited ride card on the nation's largest subway system by 3.9 percent to $121, and weekly cards by 3.2 percent to $32.
The bonus that riders get when they buy pay-per-ride cards over $5.50 will fall to 5 percent from 11 percent, meaning that riders who buy those cards will only get a 28-cent bonus instead of the current 61 cents.
Most Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad riders will also pay up to 3.75 percent more for weekly and monthly passes, among other increases on those systems. And tolls for the MTA's bridges and tunnels will also rise.
Express bus fare is to remain unchanged at $6.50. Changes go into effect March 19.
Bi-annual fare hikes began in 2009 and are expected to continue.
Keeping the base fare flat benefits low-income people, including disabled riders who use Access-a-Ride, said MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast, who retires at the end of the month after a 42-year career in public transit, including 35 with the MTA.
"Keeping fares and tolls down was possible because of the continued operational efficiencies and ways we have reduced costs while adding service and capacity along our busiest corridors, most recently with the opening of the new Second Avenue subway," he said.
(Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Daniel Bases and Nick Zieminski)