It's not entirely fair to blame the MTA board members for the fare hikes they're expected to vote in this morning; they're bound by the failures of our representatives in Albany, who've cut $143 million in dedicated transit funds in 2010. The MTA faces an $800 million dollar budget shortfall, and today's vote comes in the wake of the biggest service cuts in a generation. Now it's all but confirmed that the monthly unlimited MetroCard will go up to $104—a 17% jump—which means you'll have to swipe your card at least 50 times a month for it to be a better deal than the pay-per-ride card.
The weekly card is expected to increase to $29 (from $27), but the $2.25 one-way subway and bus fare will stay the same, except for single-ride tickets, which will rise to $2.50. And commuters will have to pay $1 extra when they buy new MetroCards instead of refilling old ones. (Second Avenue Sagas hears that the unlimited cards, "which are currently one-and-done, will be refillable now.") One-Day Fun passes and 14-day MetroCards are expected to be killed off.
MTA chief Jay Walder blames the budget shortfall on lower tax revenues and the funding cuts adopted in Albany. In addition to the $143 million which the legislature took from transit-dedicated funds, another $16 million is being cut by the state to help balance the budget. "Although the tax revenue associated with this strategy has been far less robust than originally projected, the MTA has kept its commitment to hold to the 7.5 percent revenue increase," Walder said yesterday. "This has not been easy."
If you want to watch this morning's vote, it's being webcast on the MTA's site at 9:30. And if you want to channel your rage into something possibly productive, Transportation Alternatives has started a "Rider Rebellion" campaign; they have a list of demands.