Streams

MTA to Cut Back on Bulk Discounts

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Some straphangers are going to feel the next MTA fare hike more than others.

While the details are still being worked out, sources say that monthly card holders could face a 10 percent or 11 percent jump, to just under $100, starting in January. Meanwhile, the authority is planning to keep the base fare flat at $2.25 for a bus or subway ride.

Other measures will also have the effect of punishing frequent users of the system--or at least those who buy in bulk. Riders who use pay-per-ride MetroCards and load up with $8 or more at a time now get a 15 percent discount. That would drop to just 10 percent. Effectively, that means fares are going up from $1.96 to $2.05 a ride.

What's more, the so-called unlimited cards could end up getting limited. A monthly card would be tapped out after 90 rides.

Sources say the MTA is taking these measures because it wants to even out some of the uneven hikes in the past, which have benefited monthly card holders more than, for instance, weekly card holders. Placing a limit on monthly cards is supposed to cut down on super-users, the roughly 2 percent of subway and bus riders who use their cards 100 times or more a month (and pay less than a dollar a ride).

But Bill Henderson, the executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, disagrees with that proposal. He says limiting the unlimited cards will affect more than just the messengers who use the system several times a day.

"There will be people who will never get close to 90 who will think, 'Should I buy this? Because if I use this too many times, it won't work any more,'" he says. "If you start with some of these changes, they do erode that sense of being able to use this as my way to get around town."

The MTA in a statement said the fare hike proposal would be unveiled later this month and could well change as public hearings are held this fall. The authority reiterated that it's trying to keep the increase to 7.5 percent--as measured by how much it will yield the MTA in additional revenue. The average increase felt by straphangers will be slightly higher because some people will cut back on usage to save money.

"The rescue agreement reached with the Governor and Legislature last spring called for a 7.5 percent increase in revenues from MTA fares and tolls in January 2011, and despite an $800 million budget shortfall caused by deteriorating tax revenues, it has always been our intention to try to adhere to this agreement," the statement said.

Tolls and commuter railroad fares would increase from about 8 to 10 percent in order to reach the 7.5 percent yield.

The fare hike will be the third in three years.

 

1998

2003

2005

2008

2009

January 2011 (Tentative)*

% Increase 1998-2011

Base Fare

$1.50

$2.00

$2.00

$2.00

$2.25

$2.25

50

Pay-Per-Ride With Metrocard Discount

$1.36

$1.67

$1.67

$1.74

$1.96

$2.05

51

7-DAY

$17

$21

$24

$25

$27

$28

65

30-DAY

$63

$70

$76

$81

$89

$99

57

*These figures may change by the time they come out at the end of the month.

   

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Comments [8]

Dan from UWS

Simple Questions:

How many Monthly Card were sold last month?

How many Monthly Cards have been sold each month since introduction?

Show us a histogram of the distribution of the usage of Monthly Cards for each month.

New York City is the capital of finance; the paucity of information provided by the MTA is astonishing--I mean shameful.

Jul. 28 2010 02:47 AM
Cassandra from Brooklyn

The people in charge have this whole thing ass-backward. The idea of public transportation is to move the working class to their jobs, schools etc. But especially to jobs. Why discourage working people? If anybody should contribute to the cost of providing employees to enterprises, it's the employers, who benefit from low-cost transportation. Put the extra cost on them. Or better, just cut the waste. By the way, what is happening to the empty Jay St. building? I hear that it belongs to the MTA but is doing nothing but costing the MTA and taxpayers money.

Jul. 27 2010 04:48 PM
Melissa Bastian from Astoria

Disgruntled: they've already fired a large number of the booth attendants which you've chosen to describe so eloquently. And I don't know what stations you're going to that you're seeing two MTA employees at one time - I've never seen more than one, and I was lucky to see that one *before* the cuts.

As far as limiting the number of rides on unlimited cards, it's just foolish. As a purchaser of such cards, I can tell you right now that it's not going to make us spend any additional money with the MTA. It's going to make us ride the subway less.

Jul. 20 2010 07:54 PM
francyne from Pelham Bay Park

Anything which disincentivizes the use of public trans is a bad idea.

jitney service for those areas of Brooklyn and Queens underserved by MTA is a good plan, at least till light rail or better bus service is available.
Lima, Peru has vans called 'combis' which are cheap and fast.

Jul. 15 2010 09:04 AM
Disgruntled from nyc

Why not just fire the lazy a-holes who sit in the booths everyday, too bothered to offer ANY assistance bc you might be interrupting their conversation with their "colleague" who's also sitting on their f*t behind and/or their loved one on the blue tooth - OMG this city is a mess! Being poor is sh*t-eous!!! Get me a driver, STAT! Or maybe the mayor should share his Jeep, which takes him to and from the one stop her uses the subway for...

Jul. 14 2010 03:28 PM
Disgruntled from nyc

Why not just fire the lazy a-holes who sit in the booths everyday, too bothered to offer ANY assistance bc you might be interrupting their conversation with their "colleague" who's also sitting on their f*t behind and/or their loved one on the blue tooth - OMG this city is a mess! Being poor is sh*t-eous!!! Get me a driver, STAT! Or maybe the mayor should share his Jeep, which takes him to and from the one stop her uses the subway for...

Jul. 14 2010 03:22 PM
Steve O. from Brooklyn

90 rides for $99 is just $1.10 a ride. So not getting one because you're worried it might run out is not the best idea.

I have entered the fare proposal numbers at
http://www.metrocardbonuscalculator.com/july2010proposed.html so that people can visualize how the new bonus would work.

Jul. 14 2010 03:10 PM
Davin from Brooklyn.

Fare hikes hit the poor, working class, and disabled the hardest. New York City needs to put the needs of the working class ahead of tourists and day-trippers. The most expensive city in America needs to do more to control cost of living for all its residents. Support fair transportation policy in your area. Visit www.transportationequity.org and find a TEN affiliate in your area.

Jul. 14 2010 01:18 PM

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