Start saving your nickels and dimes now.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority expects to raise Metro-North ticket prices an average of roughly 9 percent, according to the agency’s fare hike plan released today.
“The reason why we are having fare and toll increases is directly related to the increase in our non-discretionary costs,” MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said today. “Our non-discretionary costs are growing at such a rate that we have no choice but to raise our fares.”
The agency’s pension payments, for example, are projected to grow an average of 6.4 percent a year over the next four years. The MTA is also saddled with soaring costs for energy and employee and retiree healthcare benefits, Lhota said.
Metro-North ticket prices vary because they are based on travel distance.
Riders taking the train to Grand Central from White Plains—the second busiest station in the Metro-North system – would have to hand over an additional $20 a month for a monthly pass, which currently cost $229. A weekly ticket on that route could jump from $73.25 to $79.75, according to the proposal.
Commuters from the New Rochelle station are facing a possible 8.9 percent increase for their monthly passes to Grand Central – from $204 to $222. That weekly ticket could go from $65.25 to $71.
Riders west of the Hudson will also have to fork over more money for their trips. The proposal calls for a monthly ticket price on the Pascack Valley line from Nanuet to Penn Station would soar from $270 to $288
Subway and bus riders are also facing significant fare increases. Under several options being considered, a 30-day unlimited MetroCard that currently costs $104 could reach as high as $125. There are also proposals to raise the base MetroCard fare from $2.25 to $2.50.
Drivers on the RFK, Throgs Neck, Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, Hugh L. Carey Tunnel and Queens Midtown Tunnel could see their E-ZPass rate jump from $4.80 to $5.30, while those paying with cash could have to pay a dollar more than they do now. The current rate is $6.50.
Commuters on the Henry Hudson Bridge currently pay $2.20 with E-ZPass, but would have to shell out $2.43 under the proposed plan. Those without E-ZPass would have to pay $5 instead of the current $4.
At a news conference at MTA headquarters today, Lhota addressed charges that those who use commuter railroads are getting hit harder than subway or bus riders.
“Anybody who believes that the Long Island Railroad or Metro-North Railroad are subsidizing the subway system or bus system is completely wrong,” he said, noting that they operate separately.
He also pointed out that subway and bus fares cover a greater portion of trip costs than commuter rail fares. The commuter railroads receive bigger state subsidies than the rest of the transit system, Lhota said.
The MTA said the increases are expected to generate $450 million in revenue a year, with $78 million of it coming from Metro-North and Long Island Railroad. New York City Transit will provide $277 million, while rate hikes on the bridges and tunnels will generate $102 million.
The agency will hold a series of public hearings on the proposals before they go before the MTA board for a vote on Dec. 19.
A complete list of fare hike proposals based on station will be available on MTA.info later today, officials say.