Comptroller Says MTA Might Need to Raise Fares 29 Percent

By Matis Glenn

New York Comptroller Tom DiNapoli speaks during the New York State Democratic Convention in New York, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

One of the last holdouts of pre-pandemic pricing in New York City might need to get up to speed, according to a report released Tuesday by New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

DiNapoli says that if fares for subways and buses were increased by almost 29 percent, it would avoid severe problems down the “road,” as money from President Biden’s trillion-dollar 2021 infrastructure bill – which has kept the MTA afloat amid low ridership – is projected to be depleted by 2026. The MTA is already planning on increasing fares by 4 percent next year, with an increase by the same amount in 2025. DiNapoli says that an additional 19 percent would fend off service interruptions and “severe” rate hikes.

While rider fares on buses and trains used to account for 42 percent of the MTA’s annual budget, that number is down to 21 percent this year, largely due to a staggered post-pandemic ridership, which is 40 percent less than in previous years.

But a steep rate hike could backfire, if fewer people ride buses and subways due to the cost, MTA CEO Janno Lieber told the New York Post.

The MTA planned on increasing fares last year, until Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a six-month freeze, due to billions of dollars that New York was slated to receive from the infrastructure bill; plans for service cuts in 2023 and 2024 were cancelled, as well.

The MTA has not raised rates since 2015, when the cost of a ride was increased to $2.75.

“We are committed to maintaining robust service for our riders and this report underscores that solving post-pandemic budget gaps with fare increases and service cuts alone is not an attractive option,” MTA spokesman John McCarthy said in a statement, according to the Post.

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!