(Ben Yakas) After a big fare hike earlier this year, the MTA determined there would be two more sizable fare hikes in 2015 and 2017. However, it was announced this week that the MTA will have a $1.9 billion budget surplus over the next four years. You'd think this would mean that we'd get a stay of execution on those fare hikes. You'd be wrong: “They are revenues that we aren’t sure we are going to repeat. Some big tax collections and things like that,” MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg told the Post. “We don’t think it’s prudent to take money that you don’t know is going to be there next year and use it for any purpose that is going to have to be recurring.”
In other words, don't hold you breath. For now, New York State comptroller Tom DiNapoli is leaving the door open for some relief. With MTA finances "much improved," he said there was at least an argument to be made for "reducing the size" of the fare hikes. However, it sounds like there will still be some kind of fare hike, if not the full one reported a few months back.
The Straphanger's Campaign is also hoping that the MTA is able to be reasonable and reduce the proposed 8.4% fare increases: "Transit riders here already pay far more than fair share of the cost of transit operations, compared to riders in other big systems in America. According to the Federal Transit Administration, riders in NYC pay 60% of operating costs, while the burden is lower in Chicago (44%), Washington D.C. (51%), Philadelphia (35%), Boston (36%) and Atlanta (29%)."
Current plans show that the MTA will raise the fare of subways and buses to $2.75 in 2015, and $3.00 by 2017. Monthly Metrocards will most likely go from $112 to $120 and then rise again to $129. The fare hikes, which are ostensibly to cover pension plans, debt payments, and healthcare costs, will increase revenue for the MTA by $424 million in 2015, and $520 million in 2017.
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Chris Hondros