By Della Hasselle and Jill Colvin
MANHATTAN — New Yorkers will face massive bus and subway fare hikes Thursday that bring the price of a 30-day unlimited MetroCard up from $89 to $104.
For straphangers considering hoarding MetroCards for future use, the MTA has a message: don't bother. The unlimited-ride MetroCards purchased at current prices will stay valid for trips after fares rise Dec. 30 for only 11 days.
Straphangers who purchase cards before the cut-off date are given a grace period to activate the cards before the 17 percent 30-day unlimited fare hike goes into effect. To get full use of an unlimited card purchased before Dec. 30, it must be swiped by Jan. 10.
The MTA has set a number of other fare hikes, and grace periods for each type of unlimited card that range from one day to six weeks:
• The cost of one subway ride will go from $2.25 to $2.50 when you buy a single-ride card. Refills on existing cards will remain at $2.25 per ride.
• The seven-day card will go from $27 to $29. Cards bought by Dec. 30 are valid until Jan. 16.
• One-day and 14-day unlimited ride cards will be eliminated. Cards bought before the cutoff date will be valid through Jan. 10 for the one-day pass and Jan. 23 for the 14-day unlimited card.
• Purchasing a new MetroCard instead of refilling an existing card will cost $1.
• The 7-day express bus card will be valid until Jan. 16.
MTA Chairman Jay Walder was asked at a Wednesday conference whether the fare hikes would be delayed because of the blizzard.
"No," Walder said. "It has to go forward at this point."
To help commuters get the best bang for their buck after the price gauge, the MTA has put together a Best Values webpage that breaks down the cost of each card per swipe.
New Yorkers felt caught off-guard by the hikes as they purchased cards on the last day lower prices were available.
"I didn't really have any warning," Paul Tscherednikov, 28, said, adding that he didn't think it would go into effect so fast. "It kind of snuck up on me."
After the service disruptions caused by the blizzard all week, he said he is particularly frustrated by the MTA.
"I couldn't go to work on Monday simply because I couldn't get to work," he said. "It feels like we're simply paying money into a black hole."
The controversial fare-hike proposal that passed Oct. 7 will net the MTA an anticipated 7.5 percent in revenue.