MTA may increase fares by 11% to keep trains running despite budget issues

Get ready.

Subway and bus fares could rise 11% through 2026 to help the insolvent MTA, transit officials said Wednesday.

The agency needs another $4 billion bailout over dismal low ridership, officials said.

Officials say they’ve managed to identify billions of dollars in savings and new revenue — including 5.5% fare increases in 2023 and 2025. But it won’t be enough to capture those since the COVID-19 pandemic began recover lost fare revenue. officials said.

MTA bean counters expect the deficit to be $600 million for next year alone, even with a tariff increase. That would increase to $1.6 billion by 2024.

“We could definitely avoid a fare hike if there is a plan, a response from all decision makers – Albany, Washington, City Hall and many others – that fills the $600 million gap,” said Janno Lieber, CEO of MTA. “If you also want to help us find an answer that makes the fare increase unnecessary, we’re all ears.”

“Our aim is to ensure that any fare increase is very moderate,” he said.

An MTA officer speaks from a podium in front of a train.
The MTA cannot balance its budget with fare increases alone, officials said.
Dennis A Clark
Subway and bus fares could increase by 11% by 2026.
Subway and bus fares could increase by 11% by 2026.
Kevin C Downs for NY Post

The MTA has long relied on fares to keep trains and buses running. That funding model is outdated as many wealthier New Yorkers choose to work remotely, Lieber argued.

“During COVID, everyone has been saying that we need to maintain full service — because it’s imperative to the city’s ability to weather the pandemic,” Lieber said.

“Local transport is still as important as ever. There are dozens of working-class communities … where public transit ridership is back at 80, 90% of pre-pandemic levels. These people deserve the same reliable mass transit service they can count on…even if these wealthier folks don’t use public transit as frequently.”

Transit officials said the rescue funds could come from the federal government, upstate New York or City Hall.

Rising crime has been an issue for subway riders this year.
Rising crime has been an issue for subway riders this year.
Christopher Sadowski

Congestion pricing, which is expected to bring the MTA $1 billion annually after its launch, was not mentioned as a possible source of new money on Wednesday.

The Manhattan Toll Ride Initiative below 60th Street is intended to fund the MTA’s five-year, $55 billion capital program, which is separate from its $19 billion annual operating budget.

Lieber has already begun lobbying elected state and city officials for more money. But MTA chief executive and state budget director Rob Mujica said state officials like his boss, Gov. Kathy Hochul, may be reluctant to help a transit system that serves only 13 of the state’s 62 counties, putting additional pressure on Mayor Eric Adams to do so to help close the finance gap.

Issues such as rising crime and subpar service could also hurt the MTA’s attitude toward officials and the public, Mujica warned.

A man sleeps on a bench in a subway car.
MTA bean counters expect the deficit to be $600 million for next year alone.
Stephen Yang

“I don’t think many people will be clamoring for more support for the MTA from many funding partners unless they see the increases [safety and service],” he said.

“They are asking all taxpayers in the state to contribute, which has its own problems with that.”

https://nypost.com/2022/11/30/mta-may-raise-fares-11-to-keep-trains-going-amid-budget-woes/ MTA may increase fares by 11% to keep trains running despite budget issues

JACLYN DIAZ

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