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PCAC Testimony – January 24, 2019 – Proposed Fare Increases

PCAC Testimony to the
Board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
on Proposed Fare Increases – January 24, 2019

My name is Lisa Daglian, and I am the Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee
to the MTA (PCAC). I am here today on behalf of the LIRR Commuter Council, Metro-North Commuter
Council and the NYC Transit Riders Council.

Today you’ll be taking up the issue of a potential fare hike. Will it be Option 1, or Option 2, or a whole new Option tied to performance measures? Or perhaps something else entirely? We’re looking forward to hearing your ideas and what will surely be a lively discussion.

Our councils are united in the message that any fare hike should offer the fairest deal for the system’s best and most frequent customers – the New Yorkers who ride the commuter rails and the trains, subways and buses every day. Obviously, no one wants a fare hike, but the alternative of service cuts is even worse. We cannot go back to the bad old days – our region is still recovering from cuts of yearspast.

While the overarching message is the same, riders on each system face unique challenges. For NYC Transit, discounts on monthly and weekly tickets should remain in place to minimize the pain. LIRR and MNR riders would be hit with a double whammy – increases in their monthly ticket and in the Metro Card most also require. It’s time to consider a discount for combined monthly tickets. Rightfully outraged Metro-North West-of-Hudson riders should not be made to pay a dime more until service is reliably restored – and they should finally get the same three-month discount that NJTransit riders received.

It is also critical that the system’s most vulnerable riders – those who use half priced MetroCards and Access-A-Ride – incur no increase. In fact, discounts like those on weekly and monthly MetroCards should be made available to AAR users as soon as it is possible do so. It’s only fair. To that end, Fair Fares should be fully and quickly implemented.

Money needs are great and funding options are not. Congestion pricing and other new, sustainable funding sources are critical to keeping the system on track. We cannot afford to lose the valuable transit resources that keep the region competitive.

Download here: MTA Board Fare Increase Testimony