MTA fare hikes begin this week


| ctumola@queenscourier.com |

Photo courtesy of MTA's Flickr
Photo courtesy of MTA's Flickr

MTA fare hikes that will increase MetroCard prices across the board will take effect on Sunday, March 3.

In addition to raising the base fare from $2.25 to $2.50, monthly, weekly and express bus rides will also go up, and the MetroCard discount will change from 7 percent off with every $10 purchased to 5 percent off with every $5 spent.

Long Island Railroad, Metro-North and Staten Island Railway tickets, Access-A-Ride fares, and MTA bridge and tunnel tolls will increase in early March as well.

Starting Sunday, the MTA is also introducing a “New Card Fee,” where riders will have to pay $1 each time they buy a new MetroCard at a machine or station booth. To ease that burden, the transit agency recently announced that customers can refill their MetroCards with a combination of both unlimited-ride time and pay-per-ride dollar values.

“This card is the most flexible MetroCard ever offered and the best way to avoid paying the $1 New Card Fee by refilling and reusing your current card,” said MTA interim executive director Thomas Prendergast. “We produce almost 160 million MetroCards each year at an annual cost of nearly $10 million. Many of the cards often end up as litter in the system, so by refilling your MetroCard, you’ll reduce expenses and help the environment.”

But saving the earth isn’t enough for riders that need to shell out more cash in an economy where pay raises are few and far between.

“It’s difficult because [I will be making] the same money,” Lilliana Napolitano of Flushing said about the fare hikes.
Donna Reid of Jamaica, who just read heard about the fare hikes this week, was unaware how much more she has to pay, and didn’t know that unlimited rides were increasing.

Even though Reid saves money by buying a monthly MetroCard to take the bus, she will have to spend an extra $8 every 30 days.

She also didn’t realize that straphangers will need to pay extra for each new MetroCard.

“I don’t see why they have to be charging [a New Card Fee],” while people already have to pay taxes,” she said.

 

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