MTA Chief Mulls Eliminating MetroCard Bonuses

By Jill Colvin on September 12, 2012 8:41pm 

The MTA's chief is mulling reducing discounts on Pay-Per-Ride Metrocards.
The MTA's chief is mulling reducing discounts on Pay-Per-Ride Metrocards.
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Courtesy of the MTA

CITY HALL — Automatic MetroCard discounts could soon become a thing of the past, MTA Chairman Joe Lhota warned Wednesday.

Speaking at a breakfast forum, Lhota said that during upcoming fare hike negotiations, the MTA will consider eliminating the bonuses passengers get when they purchase Pay-Per-Ride MetroCards.

Currently, riders get a 70-cent bonus for every $10 card they buy.

"I think we need to have a very big public discussion about the fare price and the discounting that goes on,” said Lhota, who noted the MTA receives an average revenue of $1.63 a ride, even though the swipes are advertised at $2.25.

"Do we need a discount that deep?" he asked.

The proposal was met with disapproval by Gene Russianoff, staff attorney for the Straphangers Campaign, who said eliminating the discounts was akin to boosting fares.

The discounts are especially important to lower-income riders and encourage people to take public transit, he said.

A preliminary fare hike plan is expected to be announced next month, with the increase kicking in on March 1.

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