This just isn't good news for anybody - Back in March, we heard the MTA had an $800 million budget gap they need to fill in, so in July they slashed service across the City and laid off/eliminated 3500 employees. Somehow, after all that, they STILL have an $800 million gap. How is that possible? What did they use all that money for? TV's in subways? Whatever the reason, they decided to pass the buck to us, approving another fare increase (that's three straight years now) with another increase scheduled for 2013. Mass transit has always been the cheapest way to go (I've been buying 30-day unlimited passes for years). But now that it's up in triple digits (it's $104 now if you hadn't heard), I started doing some math.
My wife and I both work and both buy the month-long pass. $104 x 2 = $208/mo x 12 months = $2496. And since they're charging $1 per new card, and you can't re-use an unlimited card, that's an extra $24/yr. So we're looking at more than $2500 per year for transportation now, for service that is sometimes painfully (and always annoyingly) slower than before.
I just checked Craigslist and we could buy a decent used car for under $1000. And assuming I use my dad's Westchester address to save on insurance (because hey, who doesn't?), after about two years, even with gas and parking, it's less expensive for us to drive ourselves around City than take mass transit. Seriously MTA, how did you manage to make that possible?
Now I'm not going to buy a car because I'm too lazy to search for one and shopping for car insurance doesn't take 15 minutes, no matter what Geico says. But if 2013's fare hike hits the monthly pass, I may have to reconsider. And maybe I won't be the only one.
According to the US Census, more than 54% of NYC's workforce commutes to work (and we all buy the monthly pass), AND we already have the longest average commute of any city in America (39 minutes, and that was before the cuts in July). If it becomes less expensive AND faster for us to just drive to work, don't expect us to have any loyalty to the MTA just because we've used you for years. Seriously MTA, don't mess with the monthly MetroCards any more. Screw with the tourists. Make the fare $5 per ride for all we care. I think your main concern should be the 54% of riders who come back month after month and make up the bulk of your revenue. Don't push us too far or you'll lose us all together.