After months of considering two fare hike proposals, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's board on Wednesday voted on a plan to keep the base fare at $2.75 with a reduction in the MetroCard bonus. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.
Hold off on the $3 swipe of the MetroCard.
The cost of a single bus or subway ride will remain at $2.75, at least for now, a concession to struggling New Yorkers who cannot take advantage of the discounts available for buying more than one ride at a time.
"A quarter is a lot of money to a lot of people," said one New Yorker.
On Wednesday, the cash-strapped MTA voted to maintain the current fare after yet another 25-cent hike was looking like a sure thing.
"Given that the base fare has increased in 2013 and 2015, we are now recommending keeping the base fare at $2.75," said MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast.
Many riders will still have to dig deeper for mass transit. The cost of a weekly unlimited MetroCard will increase by $1, to $32. An unlimited monthly pass will increase $4.50, to $121. Fares on the Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road will rise 4 percent. And tolls at MTA bridges and tunnels are going up, too.
But the MTA was able to avoid the pain, and symbolism, of a $3 fare.
"I know there is a great psychology to $2.75. And it's great to be able to say, 'We held it.' But for the majority of our riders, it will be a sizable increase," said MTA board member Andrew Albert.
Multiple sources told NY1 that Governor Andrew Cuomo swooped in at the last minute, pushing MTA board members to hold the line on the single fare.
"This benefits riders who pay cash on the bus or load less on a round trip on their MetroCard and are more likely to be low-income customers," Prendergast said.
In exchange for maintaining the $2.75 fare, the MTA reduced the bonus available tor riders who buy in bulk.
Put $5.50 on a MetroCard and you will get a 5 percent bonus, reducing the cost of a ride to $2.62. But under the $3 fare plan, called Plan B, $6 on a MetroCard would have resulted in a 16-percent bonus, effectively making the fare $2.59.
"Under the current options, you would have to ride 20 times to get a free ride. Under Option B, you would have to ride seven times to get a free ride," Albert said.
Bus and subway rides should expect another fare increase in about two years.