MTA Announces Approved Fare Hikes for 2013
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After a series of public hearings where commuters were given the chance to voice their opinions, the MTA Board has officially approved the 2013 budget and four-year financial plans. Commuters in New York City can once again get ready for another fare hike, taking effect in March. The final proposed fare and toll increases were amended from the initial proposals we heard about in October, as a result of the six week long public review process.
Under the new budget, the 30-day unlimited-ride MetroCard will raise from $104 to $112. The seven day unlimited will raise only a dollar, costing $30. As suggested by the public, the adopted policy will provide a bonus discount for the very first time to single round-trip cards. While the base fare for a single ride will increase to $2.50, the bonus discount will be offered starting at $5, rather than the current $10 minimum. The amount of the discount however, is being reduced from the current 7% to 5%. After receiving the bonus discount, the effective cost of a single ride will be $2.38. As expected, the MTA will charge $1 for all new MetroCards issues, but will continue to encourage riders to refill their cards for free. The $1 surcharge does not apply to cards bought outside of the transit system from other retailers.
For riders on the LIRR and Metro-North railroad, ticket prices will continue to vary based upon distance, time and type of ticket. On average, most tickets are expected to rise by 8.19% to 9.31% under the new policy.
Tolls on most MTA bridges and tunnels will rise as well. For E-ZPass customers, the current $4.80 discounted toll on many crossings will raise to $5.33, and to $7.50 (up $1) for those paying cash. These new rates apply to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, Queens Midtown Tunnel, Throgs Neck Bridge, Bronx-Whitenstone Bridge and the now Hugh L. Carey (formerly Brooklyn-Battery ) Tunnel.
Tolls on the Henry Hudson Bridge will go up to $2.44 for E-ZPass customers, up from the $2.20 users currently pay. With the All-Electronic Tolling pilot at the Henry Hudson Bridge, users without E-ZPass are sent toll invoices using license plate images taken while crossing. These users can expect to be charged an additional $1, costing $5.00.
The steep toll on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge will drop for residents of Staten Island. Residents with E-Z pass plans who make one or two westbound trips each month will be charged only $6.36 per trip. Those making three or more trips will pay only $6.00 per trip to cross the bridge. The non-resident toll however will continue to match the round-trip tolls on the other MTA bridges and tunnels. For those using E-ZPass it will cost $10.66, and cash users will pay $15 when crossing the bridge westbound into Staten Island.
The base fare for rides on NYC Express buses will also rise to $6, up from the $5.50 riders currently pay. The new bonus discount will make the effective cost of an express bus ride $5.71. The seven day Express Bus Plus MetroCard will rise to $55 from the current $50.
Riders can expect to start paying the new fares beginning March, 2013.