The multiple-choice question placed on the table by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Monday does not have a none-of-the-above option, unfortunately.
One way or another, it looks like subway and bus fares are going up. But the authority has not decided yet how to distribute the pain — additionally burden regular riders, occasional users, or both? — and is seeking public input. We asked readers their thoughts on four possibilities presented by the authority:
1. Leave base fare at $2.25. Increase 30-day unlimited-ride MetroCard price to $125 from $104. Cut 7-percent bonus on pay-per-ride cards to 5 percent.
2. Leave base fare at $2.25. Increase 30-day unlimited card price to $119. Eliminate pay-per-ride bonus.
3. Increase base fare to $2.50. Increase 30-day unlimited card to $109. Eliminate pay-per-ride bonus.
4. Increase base fare to $2.50. Increase 30-day unlimited card to $112. Keep 7-percent pay-per-ride bonus intact.
Here are some of your responses:
The bonuses are a pain if they are not full increments. Option #3 is best as it’s the only one that keeps the monthly worthwhile. The raise on single is painful, but at least it will be eliminate all those cards with scattered remainder amounts.
— Dennis, NYC
The bulk of the increase should be to the unlimited card(s) — these provide very low fares with high usage. (I pay less than a dollar per ride based on using a 30-day card an average of 3 times a day or more.) The idea of higher usage benefitting the MTA doesn’t apply here; I am paying a lower fare than I probably did 20-30 years ago (with inflation factored in).
— Ed B., NYC
I prefer the larger % increase on single rides and weekly unlimited, while keeping monthly unlimited cards close to or at current rates. Single rides & weekly cards are largely used by tourists, let them bear the burden of the fare increase, not local workers who use MTA every single day to get around the city and largely use a monthly unlimited card to do so.
— Chris, NYC
Stop raising the price of the 30-day card (it’s not a monthly card) so aggressively. When I buy the 30-day card, the MTA gets the use of my money in one lump sum up front. You would think they would encourage that, rather than encouraging people to buy one ride at a time.
— Dr. Edna, New York
I would think the single-fare user base includes a significant percentage of riders with lower incomes; that is, ones who often have to get somewhere (e.g., home where the children are waiting; to work in the morning after they leave for school) but can’t afford to pull together more than that single fare at that moment. Ipso facto: these are the residents we least want to place an economic burden on. When in doubt always think first about the resident of the city at the bottom of the economic ladder!
— lynneb, northampton, ma
Number (1) of the above choices. But my first choice would be to eliminate the unlimited ride options. Those buyers tend to be commuters. The MTA has to buy extra train cars to accommodate the commute period. The power companies charge more during peak usage. They have to build extra plants just to cover such times. I see no reason why we should be giving discounts to peak time transit users.
— Don Wiss, Brooklyn, NY