New York City commuters can expect another round of toll and fare increases in 2019 and 2021, the MTA announced Wednesday.
A FARE INCREASE OF 4 PERCENT
Transit officials said fare and toll increases of 4 percent are in store, and will not be as large as the rate of inflation. The MTA did not elaborate on the specific cost breakdown.
The plan would continue the pattern of every-other-year increases that has been in place since 2009.
The last, in March 2017, increased the cost of a 30-day unlimited MetroCard to $121. The MTA had kept the price of a single swipe at $2.75 for subways and buses, and $6.50 for express buses, but reduced the bonus riders receive when filling up their MetroCards.
A nearly 3 percent increase in non-E-ZPass tolls was enforced that month for drivers crossing MTA bridges and tunnels.
Tony Utano, the president of transit union TWU Local 100, praised the MTA's fiscal plans to hire about 640 new workers to maintain and repair the system, but said parts of the proposal concerned him.
"Overall, the MTA is hiring and putting more boots on the ground, and that's good news for transit workers and riders. If we're going improve service, that's absolutely critical," Utano said in a statement. "But we're very concerned about some misguided reductions through attrition that are being proposed. These could negatively impact customer service, car cleanliness and track safety."
LITTLE MOVEMENT ON THE LINE TOWARDS FARE HIKE RELIEF
The fare hike was already on track for 2019, but some MTA board members have pushed back against the regular fare hikes, saying the agency is headed to a point where the increases will no longer be sustainable.
"It is, in my opinion, not the appropriate time to ask our riders for more money. At this time," board member Mitchell Pally said Wednesday. "But that requires our elected officials and our partners to reconsider the 2009 agreement."
Some commuters have said more fare increases may drive them toward other ways of getting around. Subway ridership has already fallen in back-to-back years.
In March, MTA Chairman Joe Lhota did not offer much encouragement for riders looking for an end to the fare hikes, which generally have tracked the rate of inflation.
"When I was up in Albany last week, it was restated to me that there's been an agreement that there would be a fare and toll increase every other year, and I don't see any change in that at the present time," Lhota had said.
Some MTA board members have called for congestion pricing to raise money for the beleaguered transit system to avoid constant fare hikes. But that is a proposal that has stalled in the state legislature in the past.