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Rail News: Passenger Rail
MTA mulls fare hikes to stave off service cuts
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) yesterday released a proposed $16.7 billion budget for 2019 that includes fare hikes for MTA New York City Transit subway and bus riders.
The news comes as MTA grapples with declines in fare and tax revenue. The agency also is working to advance its $40 billion Fast Forward plan to modernize its bus and subway systems — an "ambitious and dramatic" modernization plan that's expected to take a significant chunk out of MTA's budget in the near future, MTA officials said in a press release.
In the absence of new sustainable funding sources, the fare hikes will help balance the MTA's budget and avoid "painful" service cuts and layoffs, said Acting Chair Fernando Ferrer.
"In the face of very difficult economic times, we're aggressively pursuing cost savings and identifying efficiencies while we work hard to create the renewed and modernized public transportation network that New Yorkers need and deserve," said Ferrer, who was named acting chair following Joseph Lhota's departure this month.
The agency has proposed two options for New York City subways and buses. Currently, an additional 5 percent in value is added as a "bonus" to any MetroCard transaction of $5.50 or more.
The first option would eliminate that bonus and leave the base fare at $2.75, while the second calls for increasing base fares to $3. The second option would increase the bonus fares to 10 percent on any transaction over $6, effectively making the fare cost $2.73, according to the agency.
In addition, the first fare option would increase the cost of a 30-day pass from $121 to $127, while the second would raise it to $126.25.
On MTA Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad, one-way ticket prices would increase by 4 percent, with any increase of more than 6 percent capped at no more than 50 cents.
Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.
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