MTA officials have indicated that the fare hikes for the New York City subway and bus systems could be higher if Governor Hochul’s proposed state budget plan does not go through

MTA officials cautioned that if Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed transit budget fails to pass in the state legislature, New Yorkers may face even higher fare increases and reduced service on the subway system.

Last year, commuters were informed of a projected 5.5% fare hike in mid-2023, which would raise the cost of a subway ride to $2.90.

However, MTA Chairman Janno Lieber stated that if the proposed budget does not pass, fares could increase even more significantly.

“If we don’t get out of Albany what we need, very quickly we have to start moving on the fronts we don’t want to,” Lieber told reporters. “Major fare hikes, major service cuts, and layoffs.”

Governor Hochul’s budget plan aims to address the MTA’s $1.2 billion funding gap by increasing the payroll mobility tax by $800 million and increasing contributions from New York City by nearly $500 million.

However, both proposals have faced opposition. Mayor Adams argues that the city cannot afford to contribute funds to support subways and buses, while some lawmakers from suburban areas are resisting the payroll tax increase, claiming it should only apply within the five boroughs.

“We do continue to work on our contingency plans — layoffs, higher fare increases and service cuts — if [Hochul’s] proposal is not enacted into law,” said Kevin Willens, the MTA’s chief financial officer.

“Make no mistake about it — the governor’s proposal is great news for MTA,” Willens told the MTA board Thursday. “That said, our financial future remains uncertain for another 40 days until it is adopted.”

Approval of a state budget by April 1 is mandated by the Constitution of New York. The MTA’s existing financial plan presumes that the budget will be approved, including a 5.5% rise in subway and bus fares, as well as bridge and tunnel tolls, as per Willens.

On Thursday, officials from the MTA warned that if Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed transit budget fails to get approval, New Yorkers should expect higher fares and less frequent service.

The MTA’s current financial plan assumes a 5.5% increase in subway and bus fares, bridge, and tunnel tolls, and this fare increase is already 1.5% higher than the agency’s typical schedule of a 4% increase every two years.

The current base subway and bus fare of $2.75 has remained unchanged since 2015, and the last general fare hike in April 2019 ended a 5% bonus for multiple rides on a MetroCard.

While the MTA expects to net $360 million after one year of fare increases, a group of progressive legislators has come out against any fare hike and are calling for full funding of the MTA.

Democratic Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani (D-Queens) and state Senate colleague Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) have introduced a bill that would freeze subway fares and require increased service and free buses, while the Riders Alliance also opposes any fare increases.

“We know that ridership now skews working class because of work from home,” Pearlstein said. As a result, he said, “a fare hike would be particularly inequitable this year.”