The plan drafted in July had been to increase rates by 7.5 percent in 2015, and again in 2017 — the plan now would limit those increases to four percent.
The agency said the financial situation is still fragile. The MTA plans to compensate for smaller fare and toll increase by undertaking a half-billion-dollar cost-cut binge. The agency has also seen a surge in revenue and cost savings that will help defray the need for bigger hikes.
The outlook also is counting on “net zero” labor costs. That means any raises for represented employees must be paid for through employee contributions to health care or work-rule revisions. Negotiations with unions are still on going.
“We try to keep costs down in order to minimize the financial burden on our customers, and as this financial plan shows, we are succeeding in that effort,” said MTA Chairman Thomas F. Prendergast in a statement. “Our customers want value, which is quality and quantity of service, and that service has to be reliable and safe. Through this financial plan, that’s what we work to provide.”
“The MTA’s revenues have rebounded dramatically. Ridership is at its highest point in decades. They are flush with cash. The workforce is incredibly productive,” said Transport Workers Union Local 100 President John Samuelsen in a statement.
“The MTA has more than enough revenue to pay a decent raise to its workers, and enough revenue to completely forego a fare increase for the foreseeable future. They’re tossing a few crumbs at the public and expect to be patted on the back. It’s pretty outrageous. Both the workers and the riders deserve better, “ Samuelsen said.
Some service additions were also announced on on the Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5 as well as the A, E F, G, L and M lines.
Commissioners will vote in December on the 2014 budget. Every November the board reviews the financial plan, which includes projected revenues and costs.