“I don’t know of any business where people can charge more money for worse service, and get an endorsement from the people,” lamented one concerned citizen Tuesday night at an MTA board hearing at Baruch College in Manhattan.
To be sure, an endorsement by the people is something the MTA board members did not get at Tuesday night’s hearing on the proposed 2019 fare and toll increase, which would be the sixth in 10 years.
The hikes are set to take effect in March on MTA trains, buses, paratransit, bridges and tunnels, after an agency vote in January.
Officials at the troubled transit agency say the increases are a must, despite opposition from Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio.
“If we go down the rabbit hole of no revenue, then we have a dying system,” said the Acting Chairman of the MTA Board, Fernando Ferrer. “And look, I grew up in the city, I remember the MTA in the 70s and early 80s, it wasn’t pretty.”
For the subway and the buses, the agency is weighing a pair of proposals.
Option A would keep the base fair at $2.75, but eliminate the bonus riders get if they put $5.50 or more on a MetroCard. It would also raise the price of the 30-Day Unlimited ride MetroCard to $127. That’s up $6.
Option B would bump the base fare up to $3 and raises the bonus riders get for putting at least $6 on a MetroCard. The 30-Day Metrocard would go up to $126.25.
Under both proposals, the Seven-Day Unlimited ride MetroCard would go up a buck to $33.
“Governor Cuomo called for an end to the fare hikes this year in his campaign and we actually want to hold him to that,” said Rebecca Bailin of Riders Alliance.
That’s an unlikely option, though, given the shoddy state of the MTA’s finances.
But by law, the agency has to take the feedback from these public hearings into account. And they will continue, as will the public scorn heaped on the MTA.
The next public hearing is set for 5 p.m. Thursday at Hostos Community College in the Bronx.