Commuters Beware: Fares Now $2.75 On Mass Transit

NEW YORK (AP) -

Commuters, brace yourselves: The price of traveling on New York City’s mass transit system just got even steeper, with the base fare rising a quarter to $2.75.

Fare increases kicked in across the board Sunday on the city’s subways, buses, commuter trains, bridges and tunnels, part of a series of fare increases in recent years built into the cash-strapped MTA budget.

At busy Penn Station on Friday morning, several people wondered: Why are fares increasing when service seems to be deteriorating?

“I think it’s unfair. The trains are always late, overcrowded. They’re dirty,” said Joelle Torres, who commutes from her Long Island home to Manhattan’s Beth Israel Medical Center, taking the Long Island Rail Road and the subway. “You can’t really rely on them. But yet the fares keep going up, and we’re not really getting any service.”

The price of a 30-day MetroCard will jump by $4.50 to $116.50. The seven-day unlimited ride MetroCard will increase 3.3 percent to $31.

The cost of riding the LIRR and the Metro-North Railroad will both rise about 4 percent, though the price will vary depending on the time of day and the distance traveled. At major bridges and tunnels, E-ZPass tolls will go up 21 cents to $5.54.

Just 12 years ago, the fare was $1.50, about half of what it is today. Some riders said they wouldn’t mind paying more, if they would see the improvements.

“They look like third-world subway stations. If you travel around Europe or Asia, they’re gorgeous and clean. In Japan, you can eat off the floor,” said Cathy Aison, 75, who lives in Manhattan. “I don’t think you could do that here.”

Subway ridership is at an all-time high, with about 6 million people on the busiest days. Last fall, the MTA recorded 149 million passengers in the month of September, a record.