NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The MTA is making key decisions Wednesday that will eventually make it more expensive to travel into and around New York City.
Subway and bus fares will increase from $2.75 to $2.90 on August 20. It is the first fare hike since 2019 and the first increase in the base subway and bus fare since 2015.
NYC Transit, LIRR and Metro-North Railroad fares will go up 4%. On August 6, tolls on nine MTA bridges and tunnels will rise an average of 5.5% and as much as 10% for those who don't have E-Z Pass.
The MTA is also raising fares on express buses and monthly MetroCards.
Express bus fares will rise to $7 from the current $6.75. And 7-day unlimited-ride MetroCards will rise to $34 from the current $33 while 30-day unlimited MetroCards rise to $132 from the current $127.
The MTA says its seven-day "best fare" fare-cap will allow OMNY customers to start their seven-day fare capping period any day of the week.
Unlike the 7-day MetroCard, which requires an upfront $34 payment, the OMNY "best fare" initiative will give customers the financial flexibility to pay-as-they-go until they have spent $34 in any consecutive seven days, after which the cap will be in effect through the end of seven days.
Single rides on subways and buses will increase to $3.25 from the current $3 and 7-Day Express Bus Plus MetroCards will rise to $64 from the current $62.
All discounts for seniors, reduced fares, will remain in place.
The vote puts the MTA back on its schedule of fare and toll hikes every other year. The increases will generate $305 million in revenue and help with capital improvements and operating costs.
It comes after New York Gov. Kathy Hochul's budget infused the MTA with more than a billion dollars in new funding. The agency says without it, the fare hikes would have been worse.
"Because we took action, we were able to stabilize the agency financially and we're even increasing service," MTA Chairman Janno Lieber said.
Many transit advocates are defending the increases as prudent-necessary for a better, more reliable transit system.
"The MTA, itself, is being asked to find $400 million worth of efficiencies-as they should, and now riders are also being asked to contribute to a system that we use, and that we need to keep going where we need to go on a daily basis," said Lisa Daglian with the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee. "We're all part of the solution. So we all have to contribute to it."
But others aren't so sure.
"Ridership has been low and so they need to get their money back after the pandemic but I don't think that now is a good time," subway rider Cerra Barracks said.
The MTA is also counting on additional revenue from congestion pricing, expected to start next year.
Livery drivers and delivery workers protested outside MTA headquarters, where the MTA's Traffic Mobility Review Board held its first public hearing Wednesday to formulate a plan to toll drivers who enter Manhattan south of 60th Street, as well as determining the exemptions.
The board will make a recommendation on how much the toll should be and who will be exempt.
It could go into effect as early as next spring.
There is no public comment period at the congestion pricing hearing.
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