After a big fare hike earlier this year, the MTA determined there would be two more sizable fare hikes in 2015 and 2017. However, it was announced in September that the MTA will have a $1.9 billion budget surplus over the next four years. Although the MTA was wary of giving hope to commuters then, they announced today that the planned fare hikes will indeed be reduced significantly.

Instead of 7.5 percent increases in 2015 and 2017, the fare hikes will now be 4 percent each year; this is expected to save riders and drivers a total $905 million between 2015 and 2017. MTA Chief Financial Officer Bob Foran said the agency's projected bottom line had improved by $791 million since July, when it released its budget for 2014-2017. “The expenses we’re facing in 2014 are one billion dollars less than what we thought we would be spending in 2010,” Foran told the MTA board.

Nevertheless, even with a surplus, the anticipated revenue loss from such cuts would have to be fortified by $500 million in “aggressive” cost-cutting, with $50 million less spending in 2013, followed by another $150 million in 2015 and $300 million in 2016. How they'll achieve that is unclear, although they noted that paramount will be striking a deal with Transport Workers Union Local 100 with no increase in compensation for workers—something the TWU won't be happy about, considering they want raises to recognize their efforts putting the transit system back together post-Sandy.