The good news is, MTA unveiled its 2012 budget yesterday, and there were no additional fare increases or cuts to services.
The bad news is, the transit authority is strongly considering a new $1 surcharge on each card, in the name of conservation.
The surcharge is intended to encourage riders to refill their card instead of discarding it, after the fare has exhausted. MTA officials say it will conserve paper and also help reduce expenses on production, sales and cleanup.
Riders at the Classon Avenue G train station had mixed opinions about MTA's motive behind the new surcharge, which would go into effect next year. But nearly all of them agreed that a one-dollar surcharge is too much.
"It’s good to encourage people to use the same card; I’ll use the same card until it gets damaged, and I can’t use it any more," said 41-year-old Monique Garnett. "It’s better to not waste. But charging a dollar is too much-- maybe 25 cents would be fair, but a dollar is just too much."
One commuter, who had just finished fishing through her purse for coins to purchase a round-trip Metrocard at the kiosk, seemed stunned to hear about the impending increase: "Another dollar? I was having a problem trying to get together four dollars just now," said Johany Fermin, 35. "I can’t afford another dollar. It’s too much money."
Gerrie Summers said she didn't like the idea at all: "It’s another attempt to make more money. It’s bad enough we don’t have the fun pass that we can use all day," Summers said. "They’re just trying everything they can do to increase the fare in ways they think we will not notice."
Others said they didn't mind paying the surcharge to help the environment.
"It’s a good idea," said Kevin Irby, 48. "Anything that’s going to help us conserve paper and reduce waste… it will force people to keep up with the cards that they’ve bought."
Rachel Wiygul said she sees it both ways: "I do see it as them trying to get more money out of us. But I think it’s a good idea to keep people from flicking their used metro cards onto the ground," Wiygul said. "I have an unlimited, so I just continue to use mine. But I don’t know… a dollar seems a little excessive."
"I don’t think it has anything to do with conserving paper," said 22-year-old Shula Freedman. "I think it’s BS. The card is already too expensive."