NYC Transit Fare Increases Loom

Increases in the New York City transit fare structure are likely by March 1, and the base fare may not be the only thing to rise.  According to reporting by Matt Flegenheimer in The New York Times (Sept. 13), parent organization Metropolitan Transportation Authority is considering reducing or eliminating the 7% bonus granted to riders who buy pay-per-ride MetroCards worth at least $10.  The bonus dates from the change-over to MetroCard fare payment in 1998; the discount was originally 10%, but was later reduced to the current 7%.  In any case, according to MTA chairman Joseph Lhota, changing the discount will not produce enough revenue to raise all of the $450 million the authority expects the hikes to generate, so increases in the base fare, currently $2.25, and/or in weekly or monthly rates, will also be necessary.  The authority expects to release its proposal for the new fare structure in October, with public hearings in November and a decision by the MTA board in December.