As the MTA considers raising transit fares by a $1 a ride to close its massive budget gap related to the COVID-19 pandemic, straphangers were either incensed by the premise — or resigned to the fate of having to pay more to commute.
Nothing’s final yet — the MTA mentioned a possible fare hike among other remedies for closing its $12 billion budget deficit during an Aug. 26 meeting. MTA officials indicated that the current $2.75 fare could jump by as much as a full dollar, accompanied by a 40% reduction in overall transit service. That could be avoided if the federal government steps in with billions of dollars in aid.
Transit advocate groups have panned the idea of a fare hike as counter-productive to increasing ridership on the subways and buses.
However, revenues from fares dropped considerably during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has kept most riders away — leaving the agency even shorter on funds than usual.
Most riders inside the subway at Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn rejected the idea of a possible fare hike, but understood the MTA had a financial problem maintaining the transit system.
“We don’t like it,” said resident Tanisha Alnon, who was with her two children, daughter Maya and son Natay on Aug. 26. “It’s too much money. Everybody gets on [the] train, everyone has to pay – I have my family.”
Photo by Todd Maisel
Other locals rejected the idea of a fare hike, but understood the MTA had a financial problem maintaining the transit system.
“It’s like everything else, it’s greed, they’re sucking us all dry. During the pandemic, there was a problem, yes, they didn’t get the money and they were giving a free ride,” said Brooklynite Kits Karth, who worried that the subway could soon become unaffordable. “They will keep raising it and raising it, where are we supposed to get the money?”
One traveler hoped that an increased fare could improve subway service.
“It may be worth the extra dollar [for better service],” said straphanger Marisa Lozano of the Bronx. “But then, I don’t ride the trains that much. Maybe the extra dollar will do something.”
This story first appeared on AMNY.com.