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NYC Base Subway Fare May Rise to $2.50, Board Members Say

A passenger swipes a MetroCard in a subway station in New York. Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg
A passenger swipes a MetroCard in a subway station in New York. Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg

Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) -- New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority may raise its base fare for subways and buses by 25 cents to $2.50 and monthly unlimited passes by $8 to $112, four board members said.

The figures are part of a plan to raise revenue while keeping down costs for the heaviest users of the largest U.S. transit agency and riders with low incomes, Andrew Albert, a board member, said in an interview. The plan is a hybrid of the four options presented in October, and no final decisions have been made, he said.

In addition to increases to the base and monthly unlimited fares, weekly unlimited passes would rise $1 to $30 and a 7 percent discount on purchases of $10 or more would fall to 5 percent and apply to those as small as $5, said board member Mitchell Pally. Members Allen Cappelli and John H. Banks III also confirmed the general outline of the plan, which was reported today by the New York Post and the New York Daily News.

“It’s clear that the concepts of not making the $2.25 sacrosanct, and keeping the increase for monthly and weekly as small as possible is the goal,” said Pally. It also reflects riders’ wishes expressed at public hearings in recent weeks, said Pally, who attended three.

The 22-member board will meet next week to vote on a final package to increases fares and tolls for subways, buses, commuter railroads from Long Island and northern suburbs, and river crossings. The increases would take effect in March and are designed to net an annual $450 million in additional revenue to help fill projected budget deficits.

Lhota’s Discussions

Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the state agency, said the figures were “premature.” Chairman Joseph Lhota is discussing alternatives with board members and will make his recommendation in writing to them later this week or over the weekend, Ortiz said in an e-mail.

“The MTA will continue to do all they can to keep costs down, enhance service and adopt a fare/toll structure that has the least impact on the greatest number of customers,” Ortiz said.

“This is a fair distribution amongst different sectors to try to minimize the impact,” Cappelli said.

Agency officials have examined different ways to boost fares and tolls, some of which included options to increase the monthly unlimited passes to as much as $125 and leave the current $2.25 base fare unchanged.

The vote will be part of the board’s approval of the 2013 budget. The agency projects finishing 2012 with a $26 million cash balance and estimates deficits of $333 million through 2016, according to a financial plan released last month.

The agency, which runs subways, buses, commuter railroads and some bridges and tunnels, is also working to revive itself after Hurricane Sandy. The Oct. 29 storm inflicted the worst damage to the system of any in its 108-year history.

Officials may borrow as much as $4.8 billion in short-term notes beginning next year to rebuild infrastructure.

To contact the reporter on this story: Esme E. Deprez in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at

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