NEW YORK (WABC) -- It could soon cost more to take the subway and bus in New York City.
The MTA proposed an increase to the subway and bus fare to $2.90 by Labor Day.
It is a 15-cent increase from the current $2.75 base fare and the first fare hike since 2019. It's also the first time the base subway and bus fare would have gone up since 2015.
"A lot of the stations are still dirty," rider John Delaruz said. "They are not in commission as often. I don't see the benefit in raising the price right now."
Weekly MetroCards would increase a dollar to $34 and 30-day MetroCards would go up $5 to $132.
Express bus fare would increase a quarter to $7 and seven-day bus passes would increase $2 to $64.
This year's planned fare hike will be closer to the standard 4% increase, which is typically how much the fare goes up every other year, instead of 5.5% originally floated, thanks to Governor Kathy Hochul's budget.
However, a planned 5.5% toll revenue increase remains in place.
"This allows us to go back to sort of our bi-annual fare and toll increase which is very important for the long-term stability of the MTA," said Jal Patel, MTA Deputy Chief Financial Officer.
Subway ridership just recently rebounded to about four million riders a day, but that's still more than a million fewer riders than pre-pandemic, and the agency also estimates they're losing $500 million a year to fare evasion.
Straphangers were less than pleased with the proposed hike.
"If that's what they feel they have to do, I understand," commuter Kevin Weaver said. "I can't afford it. I am sorry, I mean, I love you but I'll be walking."
Even Executive Director of the MTA's Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee Lisa Daglian acknowledged that fare hikes are necessary to keep the transit system rolling.
"Improving the discount options for riders across the system, ensuring there is equity across increases so that those who can least afford them have access to more options is critical," Daglian said. "That includes raising eligibility to fair fares to 200% of the federal poverty level from the current 100% level."
There was no fare increase in 2021 due to the pandemic.
In addition to buses and subways, fares on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North would also go up by about 4%, while keeping the $500 cap on any monthly pass.
The MTA also anticipates that with congestion pricing, more commuters will want to take the subway and commuter rail.
Officials unveiled two possible scenarios for drivers. One rewards E-Z Pass users with a 6% increase, vs a 10% increase for tolls by mail. The other spreads the pain, with a 7% increase for both E-Z Pass and toll-by-mail users.
Public hearings will be held in June and the board will vote in July, allowing fare hikes to go into effect by September.
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