Published reports say that the MTA could vote on its first fare hike in four years as early as today! 😦
If an increase is on the agenda, there won’t be a decision until December. But the MTA board could decide today to schedule public hearings on fare hikes for New York City Transit, the Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road. (AP)
The City’s Independent Budget Office did a review of the books and it seems that at 20% base fare increased would be needed by 2010 to fight mounting debt. That would put the standard far at about $2.40.
Free bus-to-subway transfers and MetroCardsthat allow unlimited trips for one price over seven or 30 days have dropped the average cost of a ride to $1.28, which is lower than it was in 1996, according to MTA monthly reports. Longtime board member Barry Feinstein, who said he was not privy to budget strategy, vowed he would not support anything that means a step backward for the system.
Where’s Captain “No Fare Hike” Spitzer on this issue? Too busy battling it out with Bruno I guess. Clearly this increase is the exact opposite of what he promised in his election campaign. However, at this point, politicians making promises and then not delivering shouldn’t be a shock to anyone. Let’s hope he speaks up soon.
Anyway, I’m not opposed to a fare hike if it is the only way to keep the system from going under. Listen, I understand that things cost money, and that things are always going to get more expensive. Unfortunately, there’s that lingering feeling that if money were managed more efficiently, this wouldn’t be a problem.
On that note, if there’s going to be a fare hike, at least make it a good one. Let’s say the fare does go up to $2.40. That increase is only designed to maintain the status quo. That means that we would be stuck with the same issues that we are faced with now: dirty subways, failing equipment, and lack of consistent service. I’d rather bump it up to $3.00 if it means that all the subway platforms can get a face lift, more trains can be put into service, and the equipment system wide get’s updated. I have no problem paying more if it means that there’s going to be some sort of benefit.
Paying an extra $0.40 on a base fare just to keep the MTA’s head above water doesn’t seem smart. Might as well take the opportunity to make a big splash. That is of course under the assumption that the only way to solve this problem is a fare hike…of which I think we are all a bit suspicious.