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Thursday’s Headlines: $2.90 Metrocard (OR OMNY!) Edition

The cost of a subway and bus trip will increase from $2.75 to $2.90 next month. Plus other news.

12:03 AM EDT on July 20, 2023

Get ready to pay more at the turnstile. The subway and bus fare is increasing from $2.75 to $2.90. Photo: Patrick J. Cashin/MTA

The cost of a subway and bus trip will increase from $2.75 to $2.90 next month after the MTA board on Wednesday approved the first fare hike since before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gov. Hochul and state legislators signed off in the fare hike earlier this year as part of a larger funding agreement that addressed massive gaps in the MTA budget created by the massive drop in ridership since the pandemic began. A 30-day unlimited trip pass will now cost $132, up from $127:

Every outlet in the city covered the news, which is sure to upset some New Yorkers: Pix11, CBS New York, Bloomberg, Crain's, NY1, the Daily News, the Times, WNYC/Gothamist and the Staten Island Advance all ran stories on the increase, to name a few.

Few riders welcome fare hikes, which the MTA enacted every two years between the financial crisis of the late 2000s and Covid. Officials began the biannual increases to ensure the $19 billion-per-year transportation authority's fiscal stability as its expenses increase.

"Never before, in a generation, has the MTA had a five-year balanced budget," MTA CEO Janno Lieber told reporters after the board's vote. Inflation has driven up the cost of everything, Lieber said, and transit fares should reflect that.

"I actually have on my desk listed how much the price of Newsday, the New York Times, the Daily News, and the Post has gone up. I don't know the price of Streetsblog," he joked. (Our reporter Dave Colon reminded him that our site is free to read; though you can sign up to get this newsletter by sending an email here.)

"You gotta be honest with people — that we had a pattern of small, every-two-year fare increases," Lieber said. "All we're doing is going back to what everybody knows has been a successful pattern in the past."

In other news:

  • The Traffic Mobility Review Board met for the first time Wednesday to discuss congestion pricing tolls and exemptions, and some of its members are already trying to reduce the toll's impact. According to NY1:
    • Mayor Adams's rep on the panel, Transport Workers Union International President John Samuelsen, called to exempt "shift workers" who work "10 at night to 6 in the morning or 11 at night to 7 in the morning or 12 to 8" — a population so broad that MTA Bridges and Tunnel Chief Operating Officer Allison de Cereno warned the proposal would contradict the toll's goal to reduce congestion.
    • Gov. Hochul appointee John Durso, a union leader from Long Island, insisted that de Cereno was out of touch with the needs of the region's working class — seemingly unaware that car commuters into Manhattan's Central Business District are overwhelmingly wealthy. “I know you put an explanation in Allison, but with all due respect, if you didn’t live it, you can’t understand what it does to you when you’re pinching pennies," Durso said.
  • The Daily News, meanwhile, disappointingly reported it was "bad news" for "New Jerseyans, cabbies, [and] late-night workers" that TMRB Chair Carl Weisbrod had indicated exemptions would have to be rare —something he noted was necessary to keep the cost of the toll low for those who pay. The Post saw a different story: that Weisbrod voiced openness to any exemptions at all puts them on the table, the Tabloid of Record said.
  • Key quote from TMRB Chair Carl Weisbrod: “To eliminate congestion pricing tolls from anyone coming from the west or anyone using the Midtown tunnel or the Battery tunnel – that just defeats the purpose of the program, which is to try to reduce the number of vehicles."
  • More fare news: OMNY's 7-day fare-capping benefit is no longer restricted to Monday thru Sunday. (Michael Gold via Twitter)
  • NY1 tried and failed stir up drama around the Third Avenue protected bike lane. Don't believe the chyron — the outrage is that the street's outdoor dining has to come down temporarily so the city can install the new bike lane.
  • A former Long Island firefighter is headed to jail for the 2020 drunk, wrong-way vehicular killing of a 44-year-old Queens teacher, Anthony Mariano. (NBC New York)
  • DOT begs drivers to stop being a—holes. Will they listen? (News12)

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