NEW YORK CITY — Straphangers may one day long for the days of the $112 unlimited monthly MetroCard.
If the MTA keeps raising prices at the same pace is has for the past several years, 30-day unlimited cards could cost a whopping $168 just a decade from now, according to a new study by the city's Independent Budget Office.
By comparison, the monthly MetroCards cost just 68 when they were first introduced in 1998, and rose to $91 in 2003. At that pace, the base fare would be $3.75 and a seven-day unlimited pass would cost $45, according to the IBO.
The projected 2023 rate is based on the regular fare increases the MTA has implemented in recent years, according to the IBO, which cautioned that the amount is just a prediction based on prior hikes that might not be repeated at the same pace.
The Straphanger's Campaign, a transit advocacy group which commissioned the study, fumed over the findings.
"Constant fare hikes will overburden riders, discourage use of mass transit, and cannot be sustained over time," Gene Russianoff, an attorney with the Straphangers Campaign, said in a statement.
The study found that, starting in 2010, the MTA implemented 8.4 percent fare increases to reach their revenue goals, the IBO said. Between 2009 and 2010, the 30-day unlimited leapt from $89 to $104.
That rate jump was again implemented in March when the card climbed to $112 and will likely return in 2015, the IBO said.
The MTA will likely continue to raise fares because it lacks the government funding many other cities can count on, the IBO said.
“Without more financial support from Albany, the MTA might as well start making announcements that ‘there is a fare hike right behind this one,’” Russianoff said.