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New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority approved the first fare increases for its transit system in four years, citing them as “necessary.”

On Wednesday (July 19), the MTA Board unanimously voted to increase the subway fares from $2.75 to $2.90. The first fare hike in four years also applies to the buses in the citywide system. In addition, fares will also go up by 5% on the tolls at the city’s bridges and tunnels from $6.55 to $6.94. For those without an E-Z Pass, they will see a 10% increase. Those changes will go into effect Aug. 6, while the subway and bus fare increases take effect on Aug. 20.

“We’re making good on this last brick in this amazing edifice that is the restoration of the MTA’s financial stability. It is an important moment,” MTA Chair Janno Lieber said after the decision. “It is not without its downsides because anytime you’re asking people to pay a little more, you know that has consequences.”

Board members declared that the fare increase was “necessary” and “healthy,” as it struggles with a reported $48 billion debt. Deputy chair Jai Patel stated that the increase will help the MTA “keep up with inflation, avert radical fare and toll fluctuations and mitigate impacts on customers by offering a predictable increase schedule.”

Other changes include the express bus fare now being increased to $7, and the seven-day fare going up two dollars to $64. Also, monthly unlimited Metrocards will now be $132 and seven-day unlimited Metrocards will be $34. Metro-North & Long Island Railroad fares will rise 4%. Reduced fares for seniors and others will remain in place.

The board had previously paused talks and plans to increase the fare biannually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which the MTA states led to its current status. The next item will be the congestion pricing plan, which the MTA hopes to enact for vehicles below 60th street in Manhattan by the end of spring next year. It faces opposition from delivery drivers and livery drivers, who protested outside of MTA headquarters yesterday.