Fares to increase by 50% in 10 years: Straphangers

Photo by Christina Santucci
By Philip Newman

The Straphangers Campaign said Tuesday that subway and bus fares would go up by 50 percent over the next 10 years if the MTA keeps raising fares by 8.4 percent every two years.

The transit advocacy agency said the 30-day MetroCard would jump from $112 to $168 in the next decade, the seven-day card from $30 to $45 and the base fare from $2.50 to $3.75 a ride.

“The report is a hypothetical math exercise,” said Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Aaron Donovan. “What’s real is the $800 million in recurring annual cost cuts we’ve made since 2010. And as the report acknowledges on the first page, when you take inflation into account, their hypothetical increase is only 15 percent in the next 10 years. And a subway ride still costs 18 percent less than in 1996.”

The Straphangers said the Independent Budget Office conducted the study at the request of the transit watchdog organization.

The Straphangers’ analysis assumes continuation of subway and bus fare increases of 8.4 percent every two years, which the MTA began in 2011 and repeated in 2013. The MTA has called the hikes “moderate.”

The present MTA four-year financial plan includes another 8.4 percent increase in 2015 and again in 2017, the Straphangers said.

“An 8.4 percent increase in transit fares in 2015 is projected to raise $409 million annually and an 8.4 percent fare increase in 2017 for 10 months would raise $380 million,” the transit agency said.

At last week’s MTA board meeting, MTA officials said the actual amount of increase would be decided at the time of MTA fare hike hearings and would depend on the agency’s overall finances.

The IBO is a publicly funded city agency that provides non-partisan information about the city’s budget and economy to the public and elected officials.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

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