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Steeper MTA fare hikes may be coming

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Without more sources of funding, the agency may be forced to implement steeper hikes in the coming years

Steep fare hikes may be in store for the NYC subway if the MTA is unable to secure more solid sources of funding soon, chairman Joseph Lhota said during an MTA board meeting on Wednesday. AM New York first reported on the startling revelation, which comes amidst declining ridership on both buses and trains, and constant complaints about subway service.

The MTA has already proposed four percent fare hikes in 2019 and 2021, and the hike next year seems very likely. However the hikes after that could be a lot steeper, Lhota warned on Wednesday. This is due to a massive budget deficit, which will only get worse unless the MTA finds other sources of funding. Lhota once again pushed for congestion pricing at Wednesday’s meeting, which could generated $1.5 billion in revenue annually for the agency.

Aside from the fare hikes, the budget deficit could also lead to reduction in service, which could mean fewer buses per route or the elimination of entire bus routes. Already the agency has announced several cuts to curb spending like fewer train cleanings, reduction in night staff, reduction of manual track inspections to once a week and relying on video inspection instead, and the postponement of new Select Bus Service routes until 2021, according to AM New York.

Lhota is also waiting on the recommendations of the newly formed Metropolitan Transportation Sustainability Advisory group to advise him on alternate sources of funding for the beleaguered agency. The MTA board will vote on fare increases for the subway this December.