New York City Comptroller Proposes Plan to Integrate Commuter Rail, MTA

(Bloomberg) -- New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority should lower all commuter fares to the base Metrocard fare of $2.75, and allow free transfers between rail, subways, and buses, according to a new transit proposal by New York City comptroller Scott Stringer.

New York City Comptroller Proposes Plan to Integrate Commuter Rail, MTA

The proposal would drop “prohibitively expensive" Metro-North and LIRR fares to the price of a Metrocard swipe for all trips within the five boroughs, and expand transit access in 31 neighborhoods in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens that have Metro-North or Long Island Rail Road stations.

Current fares and transfer policies reduce ridership within the five boroughs, leaving off-peak commuter trains more than half empty and peak-hour trains with "significant spare capacity" that could be used to integrate service, according to Stringer’s report.

“New York City’s transit system is in crisis. While commuter rail tracks carve through the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, working New Yorkers are stuck behind an unacceptable paywall, forced to pay an exorbitant amount or spend extra hours stuck on overcrowded subways and buses,” Stringer said in a statement.

“We received Comptroller Stringer’s report late this morning and will review it, particularly the assertions about excess capacity with which we disagree," MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said in a statement. “The MTA is not a financially self-sustaining organization and for the recommendations of the City Comptroller to be implemented, a subsidy is required. It is fiscally irresponsible to make a transit benefit recommendation without identifying a source of funding – especially given the MTA’s massive financial needs as outlined by Comptroller DiNapoli’s report.”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.