This morning MTA executives are presenting their dreaded four-year plan to the authority board at their monthly meeting. By now you know about the various fare hikes under consideration to close a $400 million budget gap. One part of the plan that hasn't got that much attention is a proposal to raise the threshold for discounts on pay-per-ride MetroCards. Right now, riders who buy an $8 MetroCard get a 15% discount; the new plan would raise the bar to $10 to trigger a discount. And the discount would be slashed to 7%.
Today the board is expected to vote for a bitter cocktail of fare hikes, then send the swill to the mob for public hearings in September. After sitting through a lot of bleating, they'll vote in the changes, which also include either capping the number of trips on the 30-day MetroCard at 90 (while raising the price $10 to $99), or charging $104 for unlimited rides. For the weekly, they're considering a fare increase from $27 to $28, with a 22-trip limit on rides; or an increase to $29, with no limit.
The MTA promises that by implementing the 7.5% fare hike, they can avoid any reductions in service. But this is also contingent upon the MTA's unions agreeing to two years of no wage increases. What could go wrong? When asked for his feelings about that, TWU boss John Samuelson told the Post, "No. I completely reject the notion that transit workers are going to get zero raises in the first two years of the next contract."
If you're a fan of board meetings, you can watch today's session live via webcast here.