FINANCIAL DISTRICT — The MTA is considering two plans to hike subway and bus fares in early 2017 that both would increase the cost of a monthly MetroCard to $121.
The plans would also increase the weekly MetroCard to $32, up from the current price of $31. The monthly MetroCard is currently $116.50.
The 7-Day Express Bus Plus MetroCard is also the same under both plans, increasing from $57.25 to $59.50, and the $1 fee for purchasing a new MetroCard remains the same.
The difference between the two plans is based on how much the base fare, which is used to calculate the price of the MetroCards, would be increased. It is currently $2.75, and would remain the same under one plan, but increase to $3 under the second.
The plans also differ in terms of the "bonus" riders receive when purchasing a MetroCard — currently 11 percent with every $5.50 put on the card.
The MTA will hold eight hearings on the two plans in December, and vote on which one to adopt in January.
Information on the hearing dates and locations is available on the MTA's website.
"We want to get the flavor of the ridership at large with respect to how it impacts them," MTA Chairman and CEO Tom Prendergast said after the authority's monthly board meeting Wednesday.
MetroCards are currently sold at a base fare of $2.75 per ride, and buyers get an 11 percent bonus for every $5.50 spent, bringing the effective fare down to $2.48.
Under Plan A, the base fare would stay the same, but the bonus would decrease to 5 percent, making the effective fare $2.62 per ride.
Under Plan B, the base fare would increase to $3, but the bonus would also increase, up to 16 percent with every $6 spent. The effective fare per ride would be $2.59.
The two plans are "almost indistinguishable in terms of the amount of revenue they generate for the MTA," Prendergast said.
Prendergast said the reason the monthly and weekly increases are the same under both proposals is because "the overwhelming majority of customers" use those MetroCards.
"Those numbers drive a certain amount of revenue, and that's why they're the same in both proposals," Prendergast said.
The MTA increases fares every other year, and has committed to keeping the increases below 4 percent, so it works out to about 2 percent annually, in line with cost of living increases, Prendergast noted.
The 30-day MetroCard is increasing in price by 3.9 percent, and the 7-day by 3.2 percent.
According to Prendergast, riders will actually be getting more for their money with this new increase, with the new Fulton Street Transit Center, the expansion of the 7 line to Manhattan's west side and the long-awaited opening of the Second Avenue subway line all opening roughly since the last fare hike.
"We're giving them safe and reliable service, and we actually are providing expanding service in the next two years," he said.
The cost of the expanded service is "about $73, 74 million per year," Prendergast said, which is roughly equivalent to 1 percent of the revenue to be generated by the fare hike.
The other 3 percent of the fare hike is for "safe and reliable service," he said.
"A lot of people say, well, I'm not getting anything for that, but I'm paying more," Prendergast acknowledged. "Well, our employees deserve raises, as the public does at large, so there's a 2 percent projected increased labor cost."
Here are the other differences in the two plans:
► Single Ride tickets stay at $3.
► Express Bus fare stays at $6.50 for those paying cash, but increases from $5.86 to $6.19 for those paying with a MetroCard and getting the bonus.
► The Access-a-Ride fare stays at $2.75.
► Single Ride tickets increase from $3 to $3.25.
► Express Bus Fare increases from $6.50 to $7 for those paying cash, and from $5.86 for those paying a MetroCard and getting the bonus.
► Access-a-Ride fare increases from $2.75 to $3.