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MTA Takes Another Swipe at Passengers' Wallets

MTA considers another surcharge, in the name of conservation

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."

Marina Stanley July 28, 2011 at 04:09 AM
That's cool but I wonder if it would 1) hurt tourism (they spend a lot on MTA and could potentially be a deterent ) or 2) make a difference for folks who get their cards through their jobs or corporations at pre-tax rates... everytime a corporation rolls out a card to an employee, would they have to eat the $1.00 surcharge? It adds up. 3) What about damaged cards through no fault of the user? The MTA irks me sometimes but we need the services. I'm all for reduce/reuse/recycle but I hope this is not an old fashioned hustle and that common sense for New York Straphangers will prevail.
J August 10, 2011 at 02:35 PM
Good points Marina. Also, what would monthly unlimited riders do? Currently, they need to get new cards every month. Perhaps the MTA could revise their policy and make it so that if you turn in your old card, then you don't need to pay the surcharge when getting a new card. This would reduce the number of cards that are just tossed out after they are finished.

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