Congestion Pricing For Straphangers


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The [ballyhoo regarding fare hikes] may be coming to a head now that the MTA has finally laid out its [two-tiered plan](http://www.ny1.com/ny1/content/index.jsp?stid=1&aid=73924) with different peak and off-peak rates. [Congestion pricing](http://www.newyorkpress.com/blogx/display_blog.cfm?bid=4022833&day=9&startmonth=7&startyear=2007) anyone? To get to this point, the MTA has hired pitchmen to help convince the public that a fare and toll hike is indeed necessary, despite a projected [$323 million surplus](http://www.nypost.com/seven/09242007/news/regionalnews/mtas_money_pitch.htm). And the superhuman pitchmen for the job are from consulting firm CirclePoint, courtesy of an $83,482 contract.


One yawn-worthy option recommends that the cost of a single ride go up to $2.25. But by putting a minimum of $6 on a MetroCard, straphangers could still ride for a discounted rate of $2 at peak hours and an off-peak rate of $1.50. Good ol’ unlimited-ride MetroCards would cost 6.5 to 8 percent more than they do now, and a new 14-day unlimited-ride pass would go for $48.


Not a fan? There's a second option that may be put into effect: A single ride would go up to $2.25, but the 20 percent MetroCard discount would still mean that for every $10 spent, straphangers would get $12 worth of rides. Unlimited-ride cards would go up by about four percent, with the new 14-day MetroCard priced at $45.


Then there is the creative plan: Charge commuters $2 dollars (the current base fare) for riding during morning and evening peak hours of the day, but only $1.50 during off-peak hours. The bad news is some of the discounts would disappear and the price of 7- and 30-day unlimited ride MetroCards would go up, maybe by as much as 8 percent.


The MTA is expected to make a final vote in December, and in late February or March, the new plan would take effect.


Photo courtesy of [Lall on Flickr]


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