The MTA is planning a pair of hikes in the cost of transit fares and tolls over the next three years, according to a preliminary budget put out in a board meeting on Wednesday. The hikes are scheduled to go into effect in March of 2019 and 2021, and early estimates put forward in documents from the authority estimate that that they'll each be increases of four percent.
It's important to note that the MTA isn't springing this price hike on straphangers out of the blue. Fares have increased every two years since 2009—the upcoming round in 2019 and 2021 is in line with that standard.
The MTA last increased its fares in 2017, when it hiked the cost of a 30-day unlimited MetroCard from $116.50 to $121 and a seven-day pass from $31 to $32. The one-way ticket stayed at $2.75, a win for pay-as-you-go commuters. It's too early to tell what form the next two rounds of price bumps will take, and the estimate of four percent is a placeholder based on previous years, an MTA spokesperson said.
By the time the 2021 price increases go into effect, the MTA will be well into the process of replacing the MetroCard with a new tap-and-pay fare system. The authority plans to start testing the new technology across the system in May 2019, which will replace the current vinyl swipe cards entirely by 2023.
Any MTA price increase is likely to draw the scorn of straphangers, especially considering the struggles that New York's subway system has seen over the past two years. But whether agree with them or not, we're going to see biannual fare increases for the foreseeable future.