1975: N.Y. Fares Raised in Crisis by Paul Matus

Service Cuts Advanced Despite the Increase
Hard on the heels of the huge subway fare increase, the New York City Transit Authority announced [September 12] that it would cut 102 BMT and IND subway runs effective January 11, about 2 percent of the combined BMT-IND service. A "run" consists of one train operating from its starting point to its terminal.
      The cuts will be obtained by cutting one train from each "shoulder" period on each BMT and IND line. The "shoulder" periods are the transitional times of 20 minutes on either side of the rush hours. The result will be an additional time gap, or headway, between trains of as much as three minutes or more.
     Similar to cuts imposed on the IRT Division September 1 (the day of the fare increase), the TA views them as not affecting any line "in any material way."
     No immediate change is planned in off-peak service, according to the TA, including the deep cuts proposed earlier [see 1/41], nor in peak rush hour periods. The peak portion of the rush hour doesn't even last an hour on some lines lately, and may be as little as 20 or 40 minutes.

Rockaways Get a Break
It wouldn't be accurate to say that no one is happy with the new fare structure. Residents of the Rockaways, a peninsula lying parallel to the extreme southeastern corner of the city, and separated from it by the wide, shallow Jamaica Bay, have had to pay a double fare since their subway extension opened in 1956. The double fare, the only "zone" fare charged on the system, was considered justified by the line's length, its low ridership potential (the peninsula is only a few city blocks wide for most of its length), and the fact that riders were "saved" from the much higher fares the Long Island Rail Road charged when it operated the line. When the line first opened the regular fare was 15c, so the double fare was a not-too-outrageous 30c But as the fare rose, so did the extra bite for Rockaway riders.
     So, with the fare increase, Rockaway riders won their long-sought equity with the rest of the subway system. The double fare was eliminated, and, when everybody else had to dig in a little deeper, the Rockaway commuter got a fare cut, from 70c to 50c!

Fooled Again!
Since 1953, when the New York City Transit Authority first introduced subway tokens to New York subway riders, the TA management has promoted a neat little deception each time the fare has been raised: Don't bother hoarding tokens, folks, we're changing the size. The fare has been raised four times since 1953, but only once was the token changed, when the original dime-sized token was scrapped in favor of the current approximately quarter-sized token.
     The deception is carried out to discourage hoarding. Officials are quoted to the effect that the token size will change, and a few turnstiles at key locations are modified to accept the "new" tokens.
     This time, the TA put on its most elaborate press campaign. The word was put out that the new tokens were ready, that they wouldn't have the familiar punched out "Y" of all previous tokens, figures were released saying how much they cost to mint, and how much it would cost to convert over all the turnstiles.

Continued on page 5








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