NEW YORK (PIX11) — MTA leaders will meet Wednesday to discuss agency budget woes that could lead to additional fare hikes beyond those already scheduled.
Driving the issue is a relative lack of paying riders compared to the years before the COVID-19 pandemic. Ridership sits at just about 60% of what it was before the public health emergency, contributing to a looming fiscal cliff that has the MTA on track to lose $1.6 billion next year.
The likely outcome is either fare hikes or service reductions, according to a recent report from the office of State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. Fares may need to increase by almost 30%, which would leave riders paying about $3.54 per trip.
There are already a pair of 4% fare hikes planned for 2023 and 2025. The standard fare has sat at $2.75 since 2015.
But some transit advocates, like Lisa Daglian of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, say that the burden can’t fall on the backs — and wallets — of riders.
“It’s also important the MTA finds and proposes ways to raise new revenue sources in more creative ways than fare hikes,” said Daglian at a recent public meeting.
The MTA and its financial experts are expected to unveil their projections, as well as their potential solutions, later Wednesday.