MTA Might Raise Price of Unlimited MetroCard to $104, 7-Day Pass to $29

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority tomorrow will consider raising the cost of monthly unlimited bus and subway fares to $104 from $89, according to a proposal posted on the agency’s website.

The MTA, whose 8.5 million weekday riders make it the busiest U.S. mass-transit system, also will consider raising fares for its railroads. Long Island Rail Road commuters would pay from 5.5 percent to 11.5 percent more; those on Metro-North Railroad would pay from 3.8 percent to 14.3 percent more.

The increases are part of an initiative approved by the governor and legislature last year aimed at raising revenue by 7.5 percent next year.

The agency had also considered ending passes that offer limitless riding. “An overwhelming majority of transit customers told us that keeping 7-Day and 30-Day passes that provide for unlimited travel is preferred to a capped pass,” wrote Jay Walder, the MTA’s chairman and chief executive officer, in a letter to the agency’s board yesterday and posted on its website.

The authority plans to vote on raising the cost of seven- day unlimited MetroCards to $29 from $27.

The MTA’s $12 billion budget has suffered because a payroll tax in New York City and seven other counties that was adopted as part of the bailout hasn’t met projections. The state also cut more than $140 million in MTA aid to help close its own $9.2 billion budget gap, leaving the agency with a $900 million deficit.

Higher Fares, Fewer Workers

MTA has cut service, trimmed its workforce and reduced overtime. It raised fares for single rides on buses and subways to $2.25 from $2 last year.

“Despite a shortfall of this magnitude, we were able to keep to the 7.5 percent revenue increase by undertaking the largest and most comprehensive cost-cutting initiative in the history of the MTA,” said Aaron Donovan, an agency spokesman. The cuts will save the MTA $380 million this year and generate $500 million in recurring savings starting next year, he said.

The agency also plans on considering a $1 surcharge on new MetroCards to encourage riders to refill old ones, reduce the bonus on pay-per-ride cards to 7 percent from 15 percent, and increase seven-day express bus unlimited cards to $50 from $45.

The agency will vote on raising tolls on major bridges to as much as $7 from $5.50 on Oct. 27. The one-way toll for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge between Staten Island and Brooklyn may rise to $14 from $11 for drivers paying cash.

The increases would raise more than $400 million for the MTA next year, Walder said in his letter to the board.

To contact the reporter on this story: Martin Z. Braun in New York at mbraun6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net

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