MTA Approves Fare Hike! Will Be $2.50 Per Ride, And $15 For Verrazano Bridge

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Source: Antonio Martínez López / Flickr

Whether by car, bus or subway, getting around in New York City is about to become a little more expensive.

The MTA Board approved the agency’s 2013 budget this morning, which included a set of mass transit, bridge and toll hikes across the metropolitan region.

The following bus, subway, bridge and tunnel hikes are slated to take effect on or around March 1, 2013.

Bus and subway fares

  • The single-ride fare is increasing from $2.25 to $2.50
  • Unlimited 30-day passes are increasing from $104 to $112
  • Seven-day unlimited passes are increasing from $29 to $30
  • The bonus discount is decreasing from 7 percent to 5 percent…
  • … but is now being applied to card refills as low as $5. It was previously $10. This means you will receive an additional 25-cents for every $5 you put on your card.
  • It also makes the effective base fare $2.38 per ride
  • For the first time, the MTA will charge a $1 fee to purchase a new card. It will remain free to refill your card. There will be no surcharge to purchase a card from a third-party vendor, or for reduced fare and EasyPayXpress customers.
  • Express buses will rise from $5.50 to $6.00, and the seven-day Express Bus Plus Metrocard will rise from $50 to $55.
  • Access-A-Ride fare will rise from $2.25 to $2.50.

MTA Bridges and Tunnels

  • E-ZPass users on the following bridges will see a fare increase from $4.80 to $5.33, and regular customers will see an increase from $6.50 to $7.50:
    • Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, Queens Midtown Tunnel, Throgs Neck Bridge, Bronx-Whitestone Bridge and Hugh L. Carey Tunnel (formerly the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel).
  • The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge will rise from $13 to $15, and E-ZPass users will rise to $10.66. For Staten Island E-ZPass users, the fare will actually decrease to $6.36 for those who make one or two trips a month, and $6.00 for those who make three or more trips a month.
  • Tolls at the Cross Bay Bridge and the Marine Parkway-Gill Hodges Bridge will rise from $3.25 to $3.75, and, for E-ZPass users, from $1.80 to $2.00. Rockaway residents will continue to be able to use the Cross Bay Bridge at no charge.

The good news, at least according to the MTA, is that these hikes are not only less extreme than earlier proposals, but will put the agency on the right fiscal track. The adopted budget is a balanced one, according to an agency press release, with small cash surpluses expected in 2013 and 2014. Those will be put towards an expected deficit of more than $330 million in 2016.

The agency also touted the “most aggressive internal cost-cutting ever undertaken,” which will save $809 million in 2013, and more than $1.2 billion by 2016.

The four-year financial plan still looks worrisome, the agency stated. Superstorm Sandy caused $268 million in lost revenue, and is fueling $62 million in annual debt payments due to infrastructure losses not covered by insurance or federal disaster relief.

And there remain a few lingering questions that puts the entire plan into jeopardy. Most notably, the payroll mobility tax enacted as part of the state’s 2009 MTA financial rescue legislation would provide $1.8 million – if it weren’t for a slate of legal challenges holding it up. The four year numbers include that revenue, as well as an assumption that the various transit unions will agree to three years of net-zero wage growth.

The brightest news, however, is that the agency is taking budget-driven service cuts off the table for the forseeable future. However, they will continue to raise fares every other year, as part of a 2009 agreement with Albany.