Spitzer Calls on MTA to Retain $2 Base Fare

Governor Eliot Spitzer has "directed" the MTA to keep the base fare for subway and bus rides at $2. City Room reports, however, that Spitzer held out the possibility for increases in unlimited ride card rates at a press conference held this morning.

Eliot_Spitzer.jpgMr. Spitzer said it was possible to keep the base fare at $2 through
2009 — and avoid an increase to $2.25, as the authority proposed for
early next year — because the authority had suddenly identified an
additional $220 million in unforeseen revenue. The $220 million
includes, Mr. Spitzer said, $60 million from increased ridership, $60
million from higher-than-anticipated real estate tax revenues, $60
million in savings and $40 million in lower-than-expected debt service

“We have come to the conclusion that the entirety of that $220 million
should be used to mitigate any need for a fare increase,” Mr. Spitzer
said in a morning news conference at his Midtown office. But he quickly
made it clear that he was referring only to the base fare.

In reality, only a small fraction of riders pay the full $2 fare.
Most commuters buy the 7-day or 30-day unlimited-ride MetroCards, and
many tourists use the one-day FunPass. The chief executive of the
authority, Elliot G. Sander, said that its financial staff needed to do
a new set of calculations to determine how the cost of unlimited-rides
cards — along with commuter rail fares and bridge and tunnel tolls —
would change under the plan.

But Mr. Spitzer said he expected that any increases on those fares
and tolls would be “significantly reduced” from what the authority had
originally envisioned.

So, as City Room commenters have pointed out, while one-shot fares — largely paid by out-of-towners — should remain the same for the time being, regular transit customers could still see an increase, albeit a "significantly reduced" one.

And again, it appears that neither Spitzer nor MTA chief Lee Sander took the opportunity to cite congestion pricing as a boon to the city’s transit system.


Spitzer Basks in Fare Freeze Afterglow

Liz Benjamin at The Daily Politics has been posting to-the-minute developments surrounding this morning’s fare freeze announcement from Governor Spitzer. Assemblyman Richard Brodsky says the move was a good first step, but that he wants other fare increases — including tolls — delayed as well. “We welcome the governor’s intervention, but there’s been no change […]

Sander Picked for MTA Director

As expected, word came out of Governor-Elect Eliot Spitzer’s headquarters this morning that he will recommend the appointment of Elliot "Lee" Sander as executive director and CEO of the MTA. Sander is currently corporate senior vice president at DMJM Harris, a leading transportation engineering firm and director of the Rudin Center for Transporation Policy at […]

MTA Cheered and Jeered, But Mostly Jeered

Reactions were mixed to yesterday’s MTA fare hike approval. That is to say — with the exception of the New York Post — there was enough criticism to go around as to generally avoid repetition. The Daily News, which has pounded the transit agency with its "Halt the Hike" series ("Even as the MTA is […]

Gov. Spitzer Transition Team Transpo Committee Named

It includes some leading members of the congestion charging brainstrust and some big MTA reformers. Via Chuck Bennett at AMNY: Co-chairs Elliot Sander, director of NYU Rudin Center for Transportation, VP at MTA contractor DMJM Harris and former city Dept. of Transporation commisioner. (Rumored to an MTA chairman candidate) Mary Ann Crotty, former transportation advisor for […]

Promising Aid, Lawmakers Ask MTA Not to Raise Fares

Following weeks of relative silence on the issue, state legislators have written a letter to the MTA asking it to postpone a planned fare hike in order to give Albany time to work up a funding increase. Lawmakers and transit advocates made the announcement today at City Hall. City Room reports: If the authority holds […]

Congestion Pricing Plan Advancing Rapidly

Sewell Chan at the New York Times’ Empire Zone has more on this morning’s meeting between Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Spitzer and US Dept. of Transportation secretary Mary Peters: Mr. Spitzer said at a news conference this morning, "There will always be some congestion and the good news is there is economic growth and there’s vitality […]