MTA Mulls Hiking Subway Fares to $2.90 by Labor Day

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Subway and bus riders could be taking a fare hike this summer.

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority is pushing to implement a 5 percent fare increase — from $2.75 to $2.90 — on single rides by Labor Day to keep up with inflation and fund its operations as ridership remains below pre-pandemic figures, the New York Daily News first reported.

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The cost of seven-day unlimited MetroCards will increase by 3 percent, from $33 to $34, and monthly passes will be raised $5 to $132 if the measure is adopted by the MTA board during its July meeting, according to officials who weighed the matter Monday during a committee meeting.

“The fact that we are — I wouldn’t say smooth sailing — but we have a path to [reducing the deficit by] 2026 which I think provides real relief,” MTA Finance Committee Chair Neal Zuckerman said Monday. “It certainly does not obviate our need to drive out costs, we have a meaningful number to go after … . While it is something that we have to do, it is not necessarily something that we want to do.”

This would be the first fare increase the MTA has implemented since 2019, when the agency paused its biennial hikes because of the pandemic, and it will hold public hearings on it in June. The MTA said it could resume the scheduled climbs.

MTA Chief Financial Officer Kevin Willens said the 5 percent fare increase was reduced from the 5.5 percent which was originally on the table on account of a $65 million infusion of funds from the state budget. 

Deputy CFO Jai Patel added that, with the majority of straphangers making less than $68,000 per year opting for seven-day unlimited cards, the MTA foresees lower-income New Yorkers being insulated from paying the steepest increase.

This and other measures could resolve to some extent the agency’s $1.2 billion per year deficit, Willens said.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.