New Yorkers have a major concern right now, the growing cost of public transportation fares. There’s been some hard times for people who are barely able to pay their monthly rent and put food on the table, and in a place where using public transportation is very necessary to getting around, it adds in another cost to many families. Right now, the average cost for a metro card monthly pass is about $116, and added to the current base fare costs of buses, and toll tunnels and bridges that are increasing every two years, it’s no wonder advocacy groups are demanding changes to these costs.
The organization spearheading this transportation fare reform effort is Community Service Society of New York, led by David Jones. Jones is urging Mayor Bill de Blasio to consider changes in the city’s annual budget that could address these rising costs. What this group is looking for is an income-based fare with rates that are adjusted for lower income families and individuals, while those who can afford the regular rates continue to do so. It’s actually not a new idea as some cities like Seattle are already using a similar program for their public transportation. But while it’s been a success in some cities, the size and cost of transportation infrastructure in New York presents a real challenge to this.
According to the Community Service society, they estimate that implementing this program would account for about $194 million in annual lost revenue, but believe that there are ways the city could compensate for that. However, even bringing this program about would cost a lot, and the city’s transportation commission has been struggling to garner revenue as it is. Other areas that are being looked at right now include City Ticket, a program that allows travelers discounts for metro rides if they put over $5.50 on their tickets, a cost that might get reduced. But also factoring into this is ongoing feuds between Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo over sharing the burden of transportation costs between the city and the state.