MTA officials say increase in revenue is necessary to keep service running
Tuesday was the first day of the MTA's review of its fare and toll policies. The process happens every two years, but this year was different as the pandemic has caused the MTA to face a dire financial crisis.
At last month's board meeting, the MTA outlined new proposals for fare and toll adjustments. A big talker from that day was the transit authority's so-called Doomsday Plan where officials said they'd have to make major cuts to service if they don't secure enough funding from the federal government.
MTA officials reiterated that message Tuesday, saying the authority is facing the worst financial crisis in its history and are calling on Congress to provide $12 billion in funding.
The MTA's financial plan includes fare increases every other year, which typically brings in a 2% increase in revenue annually. Under this proposal, revenue yields can increase by up to 4% for fares and 8% for tolls.
Some different proposals on the table for subways and buses include increasing fares by 2% or by 4%, keeping the base fare at $2.75 but increasing the price of the 7-day and 30-day passes or eliminating those passes altogether.
Increases for the Long Island Rail Road and MetroNorth fares are also being discussed.
For bridges and tunnels, they are talking about applying different charges depending on gridlock alerts.
MTA officials say these are still only proposals at this stage, but an increase in revenue is necessary to keep service running.
"To be clear, no one at the MTA wants to take any of these actions. But our current, dire financial outlook gives us no choice. We're committed to finding a wide variety of options to find the best way forward, and are adjusting plans as needed based on the latest developments," said MTA Chairman Patrick Foye.
There will be seven more virtual hearings to get public input on the plan. The last one will be held on Dec. 21.
There will be a final vote on fare increases in January and on toll increases in February.