MTA Board Postpones Fare Hike Vote

January 24, 2019 - 4:19 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The MTA board on Thursday postponed a highly-anticipated vote on fare and toll hikes until next month as members consider other options to raise revenues.

The board was expected to vote on one of two proposals. The first would keep the base fare at $2.75 but would eliminate MetroCard bonuses. The second would raise the base fare to $3, but increase the bonus to 10 percent.

Regardless which plan was selected, monthly and weekly MetroCard passes were expected to go up in price.

Earlier there had been talks of a possible third option tying a fare increase to service improvements, but that was not addressed at Thursday’s meeting.

“I'm concerned that we’re making a decision today when we need to be a little bit slower, a little bit more thoughtful and need to consider a few more options,” said board member Peter Ward.

Before the board votes next month, they will analyze new ways to generate revenue to ease the financial crisis that the MTA currently faces.

“We will be considering not only what is before us, but all the other alternatives, consulting widely among the board as well as stakeholders,” said MTA chairman Fernando Ferrer.

Without a fare hike, the MTA is projected to forgo $30 million per month in revenue.

Mayor Bill de Blasio believes the MTA did the right thing in postponing the hikes but underlined what everyone should be focused on is Albany and an overall plan to finance the subways and buses, WCBs 880's Rich Lamb reported.

"The MTA board is having a collegial conversation about how and when to address the fare increase issue, they, I think, also feel it's very improtant to get further assurances. One, that there's going to be action in Albany, and two, that the MTA is going to do some things differently. And I believe that's part of what this pause is about and I think that's smart," de Blasio said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo revealed he and the mayor asked for the pause.

"If you want to go to the people and say they need to pay more money they're going to say, 'Well what have you done to make the system work better and have you found efficiencies and have you cut waste before you ask me to put my hand in my pocket,'" Cuomo said.

The governor declared the MTA needs more money as well as management reforms, noting "if you don't do both you've accomplished nothing."

Cuomo was in favor of putting off Thursday's decision as he is opposed to fare hikes and wants to generate revenue from congestion pricing, WCBS 880's Sean Adams reported.

The governor wants drivers to pay a toll in order to enter the heart of Manhattan and is calling for an MTA overhaul. He also desires more control and said he would be held accountable.