By Paula Katinas
The MTA voted Wednesday morning to keep the basic bus and subway fare at $2.75 a ride — but commuters will need to pay more for unlimited ride MetroCards.
Riders will also have to say goodbye to MetroCard bonuses, the break on fares that comes when they refill their cards with $5.50 or more.
At a meeting at MTA headquarters in Manhattan Wednesday morning, the MTA board voted to eliminate the bonuses.
Thirty-day unlimited ride MetroCards will now cost $127, up from $121. Straphangers buying 7-day unlimited ride MetroCards will also have to dig a little deeper into their wallets. The card will cost $33, an increase of $1 from the current cost of $32.
The new pay structure will take effect on April 21.
Perhaps aware of the rising tide of anger from riders frustrated by deteriorating subway service, MTA board members didn’t appear to be too happy about the vote, Jose Martinez of The City reported on Twitter.
“I don’t think anyone relishes this vote today. But I think it’s important to keep this agency running,” Martinez quoted MTA Board member and New York City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg as saying at the meeting.
The loss of the MetroCard bonus will hit riders where it hurts, another MTA board member said.
The bonuses have been around for nearly as long as the cards themselves.
The MetroCard was accepted throughout the entire subway system by 1997, according to the MTA’s website. Bonuses were introduced the following year, in January 1998, according to commuter advocacy group Trans Alt. Riders received a 10 percent discount on rides if they spent $15 or more on the MetroCard. The bonuses have dwindled over the past two decades. The current bonus is five percent when a rider puts $5.50 or more on the card.
Seven-day and 30-day unlimited ride MetroCards were introduced on July 4, 1998, costing $17 and $63, respectively.