Metro-North won’t raise monthly fares from Rye and Port Chester as much as initially planned, because doing so would have led to a quirky price difference between stations along the New York-Connecticut border.
Monthly passes from Rye and Port Chester to Grand Central Terminal were supposed to jump from $247 to $269 in March, when fare and toll increases across the Metropolitan Transportation Authority take effect.
But Connecticut Commuter Rail fare increases implemented this month have created a conundrum for Metro-North. A monthly ticket from Greenwich, Conn. to Grand Central is now $263 — $6 less than what Metro-North planned to charge in Rye and Port Chester, closer to Manhattan.
Without an adjustment, “Somebody who lives in Rye will just buy a Greenwich ticket and get on in Rye,” Metro-North spokeswoman Margie Anders explained. It’s an allowable practice that riders can easily do from a ticket vending machine at any station, she said.
To prevent it, Metro-North plans to only raise the monthly fare from Rye and Port Chester to match Greenwich. Because Metro-North will be charging commuters in those towns $6 less than it planned, CT Commuter Rail has agreed to pay Metro-North the difference on each Rye/Port Chester monthly pass.
That’s expected to total roughly $300,000 this year, Metro-North officials said.
“This anomaly arises from the essential political nature of fares. The states raise them at different rates,” Anders said.
In the past, Metro-North has paid CT Commuter Rail for differences, but in recent years, Metro-North fares have been increasing at a greater rate, she said.
“This is our way of smoothing out this little oddity,” Anders said. “Over the years, whether we are paying them, or they are paying us, it pretty much balances out. It’s a mechanism so the fare structure is more logical.”
(Journal News/LoHud.com file photo of Port Chester train station)