Despite new lows in its performance, riding the subway is likely to become more costly in 2019. Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joe Lhota says a fare increase in 2019 is practically inevitable, unless the cash-strapped institution is able to harness funds elsewhere. Given that the city and state are failing to come to a consensus about how those funds should be raised, a means of timely alternate funding is looking unlikely.
At a meeting on Wednesday, Lhota admitted that there is no present scenario in which fares will not be raised for passengers in 2019, the Daily News reports.
Word of a looming fare hike isn’t unexpected. In July 2017, MTA Chief Financial Officer Robert Foran told board members that MTA officials were looking to continue a biennial fare hike in 2019 and 2021 to meet its long-term financial needs.
The most recent MTA fare hike occurred in March 2017, when weekly passes increased $1 to $32, and monthly passes increased from $116.50 to $121. The single ride fare, however, remained the same at $2.75.
Some MTA board members stand staunchly against a fare hike, arguing instead to accrue funds for the subway’s dire upgrades through a congestion pricing plan that has the lukewarm support of Mayor de Blasio.
Governor Cuomo—who, as a reminder, controls the MTA—is now exploring alternate means of funding subway upgrades, particularly through a value capture plan. Value capture revolves around taxing building owners whose properties increase in value as a result of being near transit. Those funds would then be funneled back into infrastructure improvements.