Verrazano tolls to go up; base subway fare remains flat

January 25, 2017 Helen Klein
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Drivers will see an increase in the tolls they pay as of March 19, with undiscounted tolls on the Verrazano set to rise from $16 to $17.

The MTA board voted today to increase the tolls, while maintaining the same base subway/bus fare currently in effect, though the actual cost of a ride will increase for many commuters, who buy weekly or monthly passes or who take advantage of the discount available for loading their per-ride MetroCards with lump sums to get the bonus.

According to a fact sheet sent out by the MTA, those who use an E-ZPass will see the cost of a round-trip across the Verrazano rise from $11.08 to $11.52, with Staten Island residents set to pay about half of that, ranging from $5.74 with rebate (from $5.50) to either $6.48 or $6.84 without rebate (from $5.74).

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Crossings such as the Hugh L. Carey Midtown Tunnel, which collect tolls in both directions, will post increases from $8 to $8.50 for motorists who do not use E-ZPass and $5.54 to $5.76 for those who do.

As for a ride on a bus or subway, the cost of a base MetroCard fare will remain $2.75, and single ride tickets will remain $3. However, the bonus for loading up one’s card will decrease, hiking the effective fare from $2.48 to $2.62. A 30-day pass will go up in price to $121 from $116.50, and the cost of a seven-day pass will increase from $31 to $32.

The basic cost of an express bus ride will remain the same ($6.50), though the decrease in the bonus will send the effective cost up from $5.86 to $6.19 for those who load up their MetroCards to claim it.

“The MTA is focused on keeping our fares affordable for low-income riders and frequent riders, and on how we can keep necessary scheduled increases as small and as predictable as possible,” MTA Chairperson and CEO Thomas Prendergast said. “Keeping fares and tolls down was possible because of the continued operational efficiencies and ways we have reduced costs while adding service and capacity along our busiest corridors, most recently with the opening of the new Second Avenue subway.”

While, according to the MTA, the increases are the lowest since 2009, riders’ advocates blasted them, and announced a petition drive to encourage Mayor Bill de Blasio to revise his Fiscal Year 2018 budget, released yesterday, to include funding for half-price MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers.

David Jones, president and CEO of the Community Service Society and an MTA board member, contended that riders “need a meaningful discount, which is why we’ve been advocating for half-fares for New Yorkers at or below poverty.” Research the organization released in 2016 indicated that more than one in four working-age, low-income city residents “often cannot afford the cost of bus and subway fares.” Between 2007 and 2015, the group said, “Bus and subway fares rose by 45 percent – six times faster than average salaries in New York City,” based on a September, 2016 report by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

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