By Ilvea Lezama
The Fall Semester started with the beginning of MTA’s fare hike. This comes alongside an overall increase of more than 7 percent on all items over the past year due to inflation, according to the Consumer Price Index. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board voted to raise the base fare for subway and bus services, the two main sources of transportation for many York students.
The base fare has increased from $2.75 to $2.90, costing the average student about $6 dollars a day equaling $30 dollars a week. This fare increase is worth about $305 million, and it comes after New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s budget infused the MTA with more than a billion dollars in new funding.
The New York Times reports that the MTA said the increase was crucial to ensure the survival of the transit system.
Bassam Ismail, an Accounting Major said one way to fix this dilemma is for New York City’s Department of Transportation to diversify, to maximize their economic utility by forcing vendors to compete without compromising on quality. He said he understands that inflation is affecting prices but “the fare increase is unjustified to the absolute exclusion of better amenities and services being offered to the public in exchange for the fare increase.”
This increase is said to be used to help with in-station renovations including new elevators and new signals to keep the trains moving. Janno Lieber, MTA’s Chairman, defends the increase and blames it on the current inflation.
Computer Science and Music major Ajanee Smith said people are really blowing the fare hike out of proportion. “There are people in different countries that can’t even get food on their plate.”
The MTA has not raised its fare since 2015 but it has increased the fare by 4 percent every two to three years since 2009. The MTA offers OMNY users free rides for the rest of the week after spending $34, it automatically resets every 7 days.
Additionally, the company is still attending to low-income New Yorkers (those who are eligible). The Fair Fare NYC program is a program created to help New Yorkers oversee their transportation costs. Gurpreet Singh, an Accounting Major said he encourages students to take advantage of the program as it helps reduce the fee from $2.90 to $1.75. “I originally heard about it Fall of 2022 but never applied because I had an ACE MetroCard.”
ACE free unlimited MetroCards are distributed to ACE York students only. CUNY’s Accelerate, Complete, Engage (ACE) Program, provides a range of financial, academic, and personal support. “Our ASAP|ACE central office works directly with the MTA transit to manage the Metrocards,” said Christine Brongniart, ASAP|ACE University Executive Director. “We order in bulk this semester-based MetroCards are specifically configured for our program. We along with other entities and agencies, like DOE, the Fair Fare Program are the top three special configurations that transit supports.” Once the Metrocards are received they are mailed directly to students to claim and activate them.
Shaun M. Rasmussen, Director for External Relations and Engagement for CUNY’s ASAP and ACE program, said he encourages students to apply for the ACE program; the program does recruit all year-round. He encourages students to speak to York’s program director or a member of the ACE’s recruiting team on how they can join.