The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) of New York has approved a price increase for the city’s subway and bus systems, the first since 2015. The base fare will be raised from $2.75 to $2.90.
The increase was announced during the board meeting by MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber and is expected to be implemented by August 20, before Labor Day. He mentioned that the boost was necessary for the organization, despite the potential adverse effects on commuters. The revised charges will also apply to the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North, which are projected to see a 5.5% price rise.
Moreover, tolls for bridges and tunnels will increase by 6% and 10%, respectively, for E-ZPass users and mail payers, effective from August 6. This planned series of adjustments, first proposed in May, aims to generate around $300 million annually for the agency. This sum, however, is less than half of the $690 million the MTA reported losing to fare evasion last year.
Weekly and monthly MetroCards will cost $34 and $132, respectively. However, no equivalent discount plan is currently available for MTA riders who utilize OMNY.
Yet, not all changes will be costly for riders. Commuters utilizing the city’s two railroads will have a new $7 flat fee for peak-hour travel, supplementing the existing $5 off-peak rate. Other adjustments include eliminating discounted 20-ticket packs and the Atlantic Ticket program, though fares for Metro-North’s service west of the Hudson River will stay the same.
The price increase comes after providing over a billion dollars in new funding to the MTA by New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s budget.
“Because we took action, we were able to stabilize the agency financially, and we’re even increasing service,” Lieber said. Despite this support, the agency states the increases could have been more severe without it.
This fare hike was a necessary aspect of the budget agreement negotiated between Governor Hochul and state legislators earlier this year. The deal also imposed a heightened payroll tax on major employers within the five boroughs to compensate for the MTA’s approximately $1 billion in losses due to reduced ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic.