After much anticipation and much speculation, the MTA has at long last released its possible fare hike options. And they look not too far off from the plans that were leaked to the Daily News last week. $125 unlimited monthly MetroCard? EVERYBODY FREAK OUT.

Well, first, deep breath. These are the proposals:


Basically the MTA has four different options to decide between when it next hikes our fares early next year. Two of them involve raising the base fare by a quarter and two of them don't. The four break down like this:

  • Keeping base fare at $2.25 and upping a 30-day MetroCard to $125 (from the already bank-breaking $104) and a weekly to $34 from $29. And under this proposal, the MTA would also slice two percent off the pay-per-ride bonus, which is currently a seven percent bonus at $1.40.

  • Killing the pay-per-ride bonus entirely, keeping base fare at $2.25 and hiking a 30-day card to $119, a weekly to $32.

  • Maintaining the bonus, upping base fare to $2.50, a 30-day to $112, a weekly to $30.

  • Upping base fare to $2.50 and a 30-day to $109, keeping a weekly at $29 and tossing the bonus entirely.

None are exactly ideal for those of us terrified of paying even more each day to... get to work. But hey? On the bright side none of them are the $140 Unlimited Monthly that at least one watchdog group is calling for.

And unfortunately, as much fun as it is to bash on the MTA's budget, this does need to happen. As MTA Chairman Joe Lhota puts it: "Costs that the MTA does not exercise control over, namely those for debt service, pensions, energy, paratransit, and employee and retiree health care, continue to increase beyond the rate of inflation. We are grappling with long-term measures to reduce these frustrating and difficult non-discretionary expenses, but today, they are the drivers of the need for a fare and toll increase."

But activists are already trying to stop the MTA from pushing this latest round though. No sooner had the proposals hit the transom than Transportation Alternatives put out a plea for Governor Cuomo to stop the madness:

"The 7.5 million New Yorkers who use the bus and subway every day need Governor Cuomo to stop this fare hike,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “While New Yorkers have suffered fare hike after fare hike, our State government raided hundreds of millions of dollars in transit funds. Governor Cuomo can put a stop to this by increasing the State’s investment in public transit. Treating our MetroCards like a credit card is no way for the State to run a railroad.”

That'll get Cuomo's attention! In the meantime, the MTA is going to hold hearings on the proposals next month (in addition to those videotaped confessionals they'll be collecting). Now those are going to be some fun parties!