Get Ready To Shell Out More For Your Commute: Fare Hikes Headed Our Way In March

Photo via Ged Carroll
Photo via Ged Carroll

Commuting anywhere in this city is about to get a little pricier.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) board has decided to raise single-fare rides from $2.50 to $2.75 on March 22. As planned, unlimited monthly MetroCards will increase from $112 to $116.50, and weekly MetroCards will go up a dollar, from $30 to $31.

The MTA board held public hearings last month deliberating on whether to increase the single fare by a quarter, or to leave it the same, but removing the bonus amount added to those MetroCard purchases. The 25 cent increase on single rides will boost the bonus on pay-per-ride cards (with a minimum $5.50 purchase) from 5 percent to 11 percent.

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The MTA board has also approved a citywide toll hike — by approximately 4 percent — on nine MTA bridges and tunnels, including the dreaded Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which will go from $15 to $16 on the cash toll, and from $10.66 to $11.08 for E-ZPass rate.

Senator Marty Golden and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis slammed the Verrazano toll hike Thursday, which they say negatively impacts residents on both sides of the bridge. Golden and Malliotakis, along with MTA board member Allen Cappelli (who represents Staten Island), have launched an online petition demanding the MTA offer a better solution for their Southern Brooklyn and Staten Island constituents.

In 2012, the Port Authority created a bridge discount program, providing Brooklyn residents traveling over the Goethals Bridge, Outerbridge Crossing, and the Bayonne Bridge three times or more per month with a 58 percent discount. Golden and Malliotakis are asking the MTA to implement the same plan for the Verrazano toll.

“Obviously nobody wants to vote for a toll increase,” MTA board member Polly Trottenberg and DOT commissioner told the New York Post. “It causes the least damage to the largest amount of folks. It’s as fair as it can be under the circumstances.”

Councilman Jumaane Williams too issued harsh criticism for the MTA, releasing a statement that said:

I am disappointed the MTA. voted to raise its price, which comes too close to recent increases that did not produce better service or improved stations. New York City relies on mass transit, especially in District 45, which needs expanded bus service accessibility and additional express bus service to get Downtown Brooklyn or into Manhattan. Despite the MTA’s attempt to keep prices low, it is my hope that the agency draws back its spending or improves the system for all New Yorkers. I call on our elected officials in Albany to help the MTA find a better way to secure funding so biennial fare hikes at the commuter’s expense does not become the norm.

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