The New York Daily News reports that bus and subway riders could begin feeling the pinch to the tune of a nearly 50% fare increase on their monthly fare. The MTA unveiled on Monday their plan to send fares into the stratosphere by raising the amount of a monthly MetroCard to $130 from the already hard to stomach $89; a $41 per month increase. While this won’t spell the end of the bus and subway system in New York City for sure, this intense increase could leave retailers struggling for business, bars and restaurants with far fewer customers, and other adverse effects which could spell trouble for an already hurting economy.
MTA Fare Increase: What it Is: The New York Daily News reported that the price of a weekly MetroCard “could soar to $38 from $27 and the base bus-subway fare could go up a quarter to $2.50.” while to many on the outside looking in, a $130 a month gas/car payment/car insurance bill would be a blessing, the relative affordability of the MetroCard and of bus and subway fares in general for New Yorkers is part of the reason that people can afford to live in the big city. Hitting the working class consumers with such a sizable uptick could spell real trouble for New Yorkers who just want to get around.
MTA Still on the Fence: An MTA spokesperson said that the fare increases could still be smaller. “The MTA last month released a preliminary budget with much smaller proposed fares including $104 for the monthly MetroCard and $29 for the weekly,” reports the Daily News. The spokesperson allowed in a statement, “The notice is written to allow enough flexibility for the board to incorporate public input in making its final decision.”
MTA Could Be Playing Games: The MTA has increased fares on a number of occasions over the past several years. It’s always a hot-button issue and the proposal of any fare increases is always met with a lot of public rancor and discord. While it remains to be seen if the fares will go up as drastically as this new MTA news has hinted at, if the fares will go up less, or if the fares won’t go up at all; instead with the MTA playing the waiting game only to pull the trigger later remains to be seen. One thing that is clear is that riding the busses and subways in New York City can’t stay this cheap forever. Even for those of us who remember the $1 to $1.25 increase and thought that fare increase was the end-all. The MTA will continue to raise rates until the riders just stop riding.