MTA Considers Fare Hikes Again, as Ridership Remains Low Due to Public Safety Concerns

MTA Considers Fare Hikes Again, as Ridership Remains Low Due to Public Safety Concerns

By Yehudit Garmaise

Are New Yorkers too fearful for their personal safety to return to the rails and provide the revenue on which the MTA depends to provide continued service?

At the agency’s finance committee meeting on Monday, MTA officials said they are once again considering fare hikes in 2023 to maintain service, as the $4 billion in funding the US Congress provided to the ailing agency in the stimulus bill of December 2020 is projected to run out by 2025, Gothamist reported.

MTA Chief Financial Officer Kevin Willens, who hoped lawmakers would pass a new tax to fund the MTA’s budget shortfalls, is once again considering cutting service, laying off workers, and raising fares in 2023 to avoid another financial crisis.

The MTA’s revenue comes from ridership, and many New Yorkers hesitate to return to riding the subway, which sees only 61% of the ridership that it did before the pandemic.

Personal safety is the Number One issue that is keeping riders away, the June MTA customer survey revealed, after horrifying incidents took place in the two months before customers were polled.

On April 12, for instance, Frank James opened fire and shot 10 morning commuters in a subway car near the 36th Street station, and little more than a month later, on May 22, a gunman shot and killed Park Slope resident Daniel Enriquez, 48, on a Q train that was heading to Manhattan.

After fearing for their lives, subway riders listed “homeless people,” “people behaving erratically,” “wait times” and “cleanliness” as other issues that the MTA “needs to improve.”

Nearly one in five respondents reported that they would ride the subway more often if “fewer people were behaving erratically,” the MTA survey reported.  

Last week, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who called for even more “city, state, or federal aid” to keep the agency running, also suggested that the MTA provide more service on weekends when customer demands have been greater than on weekdays.



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