NEW YORK CITY — MTA Chair Joe Lhota has recommended the MTA boost bus and subway fares from $2.25 to $2.50 as part of next year's impending hike.
In a memo to board members released Thursday, Lhota said that, after a series of public hearings, he believes the board should try to minimize the burden on frequent users and poorer riders, who rely on 30-day MetroCards and automatic bonuses, when they make their final decision on hikes next week.
In addition to a 25-cent base fare hike on bus and subway trips, he said members should vote to boost the cost of 30-day MetroCards from $104 to to $112 and raise 7-day passes from $29 to $30.
He said he's like to see the MTA maintain the automatic bonus on pay-per-ride cards, but suggested it be reduced from a 7 percent bump to a 5 percent bump, but apply to purchases as low at $5, instead of the current $10.
Lhota also said the MTA should begin to implement an already-approved plan to charge $1 for every new MetroCard purchased. The fee would provide the MTA an extra $20 million a year in fees and savings — and could be avoided by riders who hang onto their existing cards — he said.
He also suggested easing the burden on Staten Island residents with few transit options other than the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge by charging those who use the bridge three or more times a month a "resident discount" toll.
The MTA has been considering several different fare hike combinations, including one that would raise the cost of a 30-day unlimited MetroCard to as much as $125, and several that would eliminate bonuses on pay-per-ride cards.
The MTA intends to generate approximately $277 million in additional revenue a year through the hike, which the board is set to approve next Wednesday, Dec. 19.
The hikes are set to take effect in March 2013.