Chairman Wants To Keep Lower Fares For Lower-Income People

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Monday formally announced plans that would hike fares for the city’s transit system.

As 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reported, the public hearings are two weeks away, and no decisions had been made as of Monday. But MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said he thinks the most important thing is to keep the fare hike to an absolute minimum for working people who take advantage of discounted fares.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports

“I’m concerned about the middle class in this city, and the folks who commute within their boroughs or are coming in and out of Manhattan,” he said. “We need to try to keep the raises to an absolute minimum. So that means, what do we need to do to make sure that the 30-day fare card, or the 7-day fare card, or the bonus card is reduced as much as possible.”

Most people with lower incomes do not pay full fare, Lhota said.

“Evidence shows us that the poor, or the majority of the poor – and depending on how you define the poor, but people who make $50,000 or less as their income in this city – close to 70 percent of them do not pay that base fare. They actually get a discounted fare,” Lhota said.

In any case, it is likely that the $2.25 base fare will go up 25 cents. Two of the four plans on the table would hike the base fare to $2.50, and three would reduce or eliminate the MetroCard bonus. Another would see monthly passes skyrocket to $125.

One of the options that would leave the base fare at $2.25 would hike the cost of a monthly MetroCard to $125, a $21 increase and would hike an unlimited weekly card to $34, a $5 hike.

The second proposal would also leave the base at $2.25 and charge $119 for the monthly, $32 for the weekly and reduce the per-ride MetroCard bonus from 7 percent to 5 percent.

In addition to buses and subways, tolls on the agency’s nine bridges and tunnels will rise, as will Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North tickets.

What do you think of these proposals? Leave your comments below.