The MTA proposes to raise bus and subway fares to $2.90 by the end of summer

D.C.’s transit authority on Monday proposed raising the base fare for the subway, bus or public transit in New York City by 5 percent, to $2.90 from $2.75 — the first base fare increase since 2015.

The proposal would raise the cost of a seven-day MetroCard by 3 percent, to $34 from $33, and the cost of a 30-day MetroCard would rise by 4 percent, to $132 from $127, its first increases since 2019. For the service, it would rise Also the Long Island Railroad and Metro-North Railroad, as well as tolls on authority bridges and tunnels.

Officials said that if the authority’s board approves the increases, which are expected to generate $305 million in revenue annually, they will go into effect no later than Labor Day.

New York City’s transit network, the largest in the United States, is a vital lifeline that millions of people rely on every day, especially to get to and from work.

Even operating at just 70 percent of pandemic ridership levels, the subway has carried four million passengers on several weekdays since last month.

The authority sought to mitigate the impact of the proposed increases on workers in New York by raising them more modestly on weekly and monthly MetroCards, officials said. However, any increase in basic costs at a time of high inflation is likely to have an impact.

Danny Pearlstein, a spokesman for the Riders Coalition, an advocacy group, said a fare increase was inevitable, but urged Mayor Eric Adams to expand eligibility for the city’s Fair Fares program, which offers half-price fares to eligible poor New Yorkers. .

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“Mayor’s passengers need the mayor’s intervention to help those least able to afford the ride,” Mr. Pearlstein said.

The proposed increase is not as significant as it could have been. Before Gov. Cathy Hochul, who holds power, and lawmakers enacted this year’s state budget, the transit authority ran a huge deficit that was partly the result of the pandemic’s impact on ridership.

The final budget included a payroll tax on large corporations in New York City that was geared toward mass transit, made a one-time payment of $300 million to the authority and set aside an additional $65 million to reduce any possibility of an even larger increase.

The subway has struggled financially since at least the 1970s, when a municipal financial crisis exacerbated the myriad problems caused by the system’s crumbling infrastructure. To help stave off further deterioration, lawmakers moved in the 1980s to allow the authority to issue bonds, but the agency’s debt has since exploded, and expenses have outpaced income.

The pandemic caused new financial problems, as commuters abandoned subways and buses, sapping important fare revenues.

The authority’s board expects to hold public hearings on the proposal next month and vote on it in July.

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