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PCAC Testimony – MTA Joint Metro-North & LIRR Committee – Flexible Ticket Types

Good morning, I’m Lisa Daglian, Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, PCAC.

This morning we’re going to continue our call for more flexible ticket types for the railroads and their riders that better reflect the way people are commuting these days. We’re also going to appeal to your competitive nature.

For the past year, including during the fare hearings, the LIRR Commuter Council and Metro-North Railroad Commuter Council have been calling for 20-trip tickets at a 20% discount with longer expiration dates than the traditional ten-trips. Since then, much has changed – but thankfully for the better. More people are returning to work, schools have reopened, we’re cautiously going about our daily lives in our new normal. Yet many people continue to work on a hybrid schedule and don’t take the same advantage of monthly tickets. Your numbers bear that out. More people are also traveling for leisure, on weekends and during off peak hours, which should only increase as Broadway and concerts continue to reopen. A monthly just doesn’t work for them, and a ten-trip doesn’t last, making it inconvenient. We’re concerned that too many people are too inconvenienced and are driving. That’s something our region can ill-afford on many levels.

Instead, a 20-trip with a 20% discount would be a great incentive to get people back on the rails. It offers a lot of flexibility and you could call it FlexPass – except that NJTransit already has that exact option with the exact same name. New Jersey Transit beat the MTA? This is where the competition could get exciting!

You could one-up them with a much catchier offering and slogan:  When it comes to new commutation patterns, the MTA’s vision is a perfect 20-20: 20 trips at 20% off of peak fares. Commuters would be the real winners, and it would be nice to give New Jerseyites yet another thing to be jealous about.  Thank you.