Earlier this week, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced its plans to raise fares by 5.5% in an effort to curtail the significant budget deficits it is facing due to low ridership. The increase would effectively mean that New Yorkers may have to pay over $3 per subway ride by 2025.
“The plan […] outlines actions from the MTA to shrink the structural deficit from $2.6 billion to $600 million in 2023 and from almost $3 billion in 2025 and 2026 down to $1.2 billion,” reads an official MTA press release about the matter.
The initial proposed hike was closer to 4% but, during a board meeting, officials pointed out that if ridership does not return to pre-pandemic levels, the 5.5% increase would be most likely, with an additional 4% surge to take effect two years later.
To put things in perspective: the cost of a bus and subway ride could go up to $2.90 from $2.75 in 2023 and to $3.05 in 2025.
Janno Lieber, the CEO and chairman of the MTA, did, however, point out that the hikes might not happen if the agency were to receive new funding from the city, the state or even the federal government.
“We want to give them the flexibility to customize an answer, a plan, for dealing with a $600 million gap this year and the $1.2 billion gap in the years to follow,” explained Lieber. “And it is responsible not to be prescriptive, for us not to tell them how it ought to be done.”
As New Yorkers may remember, the last time the MTA increased prices was back in April of 2019, when a 7-day MetroCard went up by $1 and a 30-day unlimited pass increased in price by $6. At the time, express bus fares and MTA bridge and tunnel tolls also surged.
To be clear: nothing is certain just yet—but it will be pretty soon. The MTA board is expected to vote on the new budget on December 21.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.