New York City transit fares
The fares for services operated under the brands of MTA Regional Bus: (New York City Transit buses (NYC Bus), MTA Bus), New York City Subway (NYC Subway), Staten Island Railway (SIR), Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH), Roosevelt Island Tramway, AirTrain JFK and the suburban bus operators Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) and Westchester County Bee-Line System (Bee-Line) are listed below.
- 1 Current fares
- 2 Fare history
- 3 Fare evasion
- 4 See also
- 5 References
|This section relies too much on references to primary sources. (October 2015)|
All fare payments must be made using MetroCard or coins (excluding half-dollars). While MetroCard can be used on PATH, SmartLink is also used; however, SmartLink cannot be used on any other transit system in New York City.
All fares are in US dollars.
|MTA Bus/NYC Bus: Local, Limited-Stop, Select Bus Service,
Bee-Line (except BxM4C bus), NICE, PATH
NYC Subway, SIR, Roosevelt Island Tramway
Academy bus X23/X24)
|BxM4C bus||Student MetroCard||AirTrain JFK||Access-A-Ride
||$6.50 ||$3.25 ||$7.50||$3.75||Free||$1.25||$2.25||$5||$2.75||$3.75
($75 for a book of 20 tickets)
Unlimited ride MetroCard fares
All fares are in US dollars. There is a $1 purchase fee for all new MetroCard purchases within the subway system or at railroad stations (except for expiring or damaged MetroCards or MetroCards bought as part of a UniTicket).
|7-Day Unlimited||30-Day Unlimited||7-Day Express Bus Plus||10-Trip AirTrain JFK||30-Day AirTrain JFK|
All transfers with MetroCard are free from bus to subway, local bus to local bus, and subway to local bus. For transfers to express buses from local buses (except for the BxM4C), an additional US$3.50 is deducted from a Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard. With coins, transfers are available to different local buses only, with some restrictions. All transfers are good for two hours. Transfers are available upon request when boarding only.
There are no transfers to the BxM4C, but one many transfer from the BxM4C.
SingleRide tickets are valid for one ride within two hours after purchase on local buses and the subway. One bus-to-bus transfer is allowed; however, transfer between buses and subways in either direction are not allowed.
On the Select Bus Service routes except S79: customers paying with coins requiring a transfer must board via the front door and request a transfer from the operator. All other customers may board via any of the three doors on Select Bus Service buses only.
Bee-Line customers needing to transfer to Connecticut Transit (I-Bus and route 11), Transport of Rockland (Tappan ZEExpress), Putnam Transit (PART 2), or Housatonic Area Regional Transit (Ridgefield-Katonah Shuttle) services must ask for a transfer, even if paying with MetroCard. The BxM4C does not accept paper or MetroCard transfers, but it does issue transfers to/from other buses and the subway.
There are restrictions on transfers, as noted below:
There are no out-of-system subway-to-subway transfers allowed (i.e. exiting the turnstile and entering again), except between Lexington Avenue / 59th Street ( trains) and Lexington Avenue – 63rd Street ( train).
Until 2011, an extra out-of-system subway-to-subway transfer was allowed between 23rd Street – Ely Avenue/Long Island City – Court Square ( trains) and 45th Road – Court House Square ( trains). An enclosed transfer passageway was opened between the three stations in 2011, rendering this transfer unnecessary.
Additional exceptions may be added on a case by case basis, usually due to construction making a regular transfer unavailable.
For Pay-per-Ride customers, there is no free transfer back onto the same route on which the fare was paid, or between the following buses:
- M1, M2, M3, M4: No transfer between uptown Madison Avenue and downtown Fifth Avenue buses.
- M31 and M57: No transfer between eastbound and westbound buses along 57th Street. Transfers are available between buses traveling in the same direction, however.
- M96 and M106: No transfer between eastbound and westbound buses along 96th Street, even between buses traveling in the same direction.
- M101, M102, M103: No transfer between uptown 3rd Avenue and downtown Lexington Avenue buses.
- The Bronx:
- No transfers between bus routes that are not listed on the timetable of the route on which the fare was paid. In essence, one cannot transfer between bus routes that do not intersect.
There are no subway-to-bus or bus-to-subway transfers without a MetroCard allowed, except for B42 customers traveling from south of Flatlands Avenue in Brooklyn to the Rockaway Parkway subway station. B42 customers are transported directly into the subway system without having to pass through turnstiles (as the former trolley line had a loop installed within fare control). Likewise, the B42 Rockaway Parkway Line departs the Rockaway Parkway subway station within subway fare control.
Below are the fares charged for single boardings on the transit lines and predecessors of the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA). Different combinations of transfer privileges and the abolition of double fares to the Rockaways have altered these fares from time to time. Since 1997, massively increased transfer privileges and pass discounts have lowered the average real fare significantly. According to MTA figures, only 2.1% of rides are single-ride fares.
- $0.05 (1904 – 1948)
- $0.10 (1948 – July 1, 1953)
- Bus fare: $0.07 from 1948 til 1950 and $0.10 from 1950 til 1953
- $0.15 (July 2, 1953 – 1966)
- Bus fare: $0.13 from 1954 til 1955 and $0.15 from 1956 til 1966; 5th Avenue Bus line fare raised to 15 cents on 1 January 1954
- $0.20 (1966 – January 3, 1970)
- $0.30 January 4, 1970 – December 31, 1971)
- $0.35 (January 1, 1972 – August 31, 1975) (MSBA/Long Island Bus from 1973)
- $0.50 (September 1, 1975 – June 27, 1980)
- $0.60 (June 28, 1980 – July 2, 1981)
- $0.75 (July 3, 1981 – January 1, 1984)
- $0.90 (January 2, 1984 – December 31, 1985)
- $1.00 (January 1, 1986 – December 31, 1989)
- $1.15 (January 1, 1990 – December 31, 1991)
- $1.25 (January 1, 1992 – November 11, 1995)
- $1.50 (November 12, 1995 – May 3, 2003)
- $2.00 (May 4, 2003 – June 27, 2009)
- $2.25 (June 28, 2009 – December 29, 2010)
- $2.25 base fare (December 30, 2010 – March 2, 2013)
- $2.50 SingleRide MetroCard ticket fare
- $2.50 base fare (March 3, 2013 – March 21, 2015)
- $2.75 SingleRide MetroCard ticket fare
- $2.75 base fare (March 22, 2015 – present)
Express bus base fare
- $3.01 (? - December 31, 1985)
- $3.50 (January 1, 1986 - December 31, 1989)
- $4.00 (January 1, 1990 - February 28, 1998)
- $3.00 (March 1, 1998 - May 3, 2003)
- $4.00 (May 4, 2003 – February 26, 2005)
- $5.00 (February 27, 2005 – December 29, 2010)
- $5.50 (December 30, 2010 – March 2, 2013)
- $6.00 (March 3, 2013 – March 21, 2015)
- $6.50 (March 22, 2015 – present)
The New York City Subway has four basic types of fare control equipment: low turnstiles (including agent-operated special entry turnstiles, SETs), high entrance-exit turnstiles (HEETs), high exit turnstiles (HXTs), and gates (including emergency exit gates (EXG), agent-operated gates (AOG), and Autonomous Farecard Access System (AFAS) gates for wheelchair access). Passengers enter the subway by swiping farecards to unlock the turnstiles. Typical control areas feature low turnstiles, one or more EXGs, and a token booth. Unstaffed entrances that were remodeled before the late 2000s featured only HEETs and EXGs. Exit-only locations have only HXTs and EXGs. All control areas must have at least one EXG, as per State emergency regulations.
Systemwide EXG installations since 2006  introduced a weakness into otherwise secure AFC systems. Gates were originally only unlocked via booths' buzzers or employees’ keys. After London Underground’s 2005 terrorism attacks, fire codes required “panic bars”, allowing each gate to be opened from the paid side, expediting emergency evacuation. While a loud, piercing, and warbling alarm sounds whenever EXGs are opened, general public took to using gates for exiting (substantially reducing queues), especially at unstaffed locations. It happened so often that in January 2015, the MTA silenced all exit alarms.
Per NYCS fare tariff, exceptions to normal turnstile operations abound. Children under 44 inches (110 cm) (turnstile machines’ top height) must crawl under when entering with fare-paying adults (not permissible when travelling alone). Those with bulk items (bicycles, strollers, packages) must request station agent witness their swiping farecard, rotating turnstile without entering, then enter through an AOG with their items. Passengers with paper half-fare or “block” tickets must relinquish them to the agent and enter through a SET. School groups traveling with authorization letters may be admitted through an AOG.
An added complication is several unofficial system entry methods resulting in no revenue loss but forbidden by tariff are frequently practiced. At unstaffed locations, fellow passengers often open EXGs for entry by customers with bulk packages after witnessing them rotate turnstiles without entering. Children often squeeze through HEETs with paying adults (if under 44”, no revenue loss occurs). At token booths, agents often admit passengers through an AOG or SET for operational reasons. Police in uniform, construction workers, contractors in safety vests, employees, and concession vendors often enter with keys or agent’s permission. Police officers sometimes allow student groups to enter through gates.
New York City’s transit system in the 1970s was in disarray. Subway ridership was spiraling downwards, while private express buses mushroomed, exacerbating Transit Authority’s (TA) problems. Crime was rampant; derailments, fires, breakdowns, and assaults were commonplace. Trains and stations were covered in graffiti. Passengers were actually afraid to ride the subway. To attract passengers, TA even introduced a premium fare “Train to the Plane” – staffed by a Transit police officer at all times. Comparatively, fare evasion seemed a small problem. However, fare evasion was causing the TA to lose revenue.
TA’s strategy for restoring riders’ confidence took a two-pronged approach. In 1981, MTA’s first capital program started system’s physical restoration to a State-of-Good-Repair. Improving TA’s image in riders’ minds is as important as overcoming deferred maintenance. Prompt removal of graffiti  and prevention of blatant fare evasion would become central pillars of the strategy to assure customers that the subway is “fast, clean, and safe”: The graffiti came off the last subway cars in 1989.
Similarly, fare evasion was taken seriously. The TA began formally measuring evasion in November 1988. When TA’s Fare Abuse Task Force (FATF) was convened in January 1989, evasion was 3.9%. After a 15-cent fare increase to $1.15 in August 1990, a record 231,937 people per day, or 6.9%, didn’t pay. This continued through 1991.
To combat the mounting problem, FATF designated 305 “target stations” with most evaders for intensive enforcement and monitoring. Teams of uniformed and undercover police officers randomly conducted “mini-sweeps”, swarming and arresting groups of evaders. Special “mobile booking centers” in converted citybuses allowed fast-track offender processing. Fare abuse agents covered turnstiles in shifts and issued citations. Plainclothes surveyors collected data for five hours per week at target locations, predominantly during morning peak hours. Finally, in 1992, evasion began to show a steady and remarkable decline, dropping to about 2.7% in 1994.
The dramatic decrease in evasion during this period coincided with a reinvigorated Transit Police, a 25% expansion of City police, and a general drop in crime in U.S. cities. In the city, crime rate decline begun in 1991 under Mayor David Dinkins and continued through next two decades under Mayors Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg. Some observers credited the “broken windows” approach of law enforcement  where minor crimes like evasion are routinely prosecuted, and statistical crimefighting tools, whereas others have indicated different reasons for crime reduction. Regardless of causality, evasion checks resulted in many arrests for outstanding warrants or weapons charges, likely contributing somewhat to public safety improvements. Arrests weren’t the only way to combat evasions, and by the early 1990s NYCTA was examining methods to improve fare control passenger throughputs, reduce fare collection costs, and maintain control over evasions and general grime. The AFC system was being designed, and evasion-preventing capability was a key consideration.
TA’s queuing studies concluded that purchasing tokens from clerks was not efficient. Preventing ‘slug’ use required sophisticated measures like tokens with metal alloy centers and electronic token verification devices. To provide better access control, the NYCTA experimented with floor-to-ceiling gates and “high wheel” turnstiles. Prototypes installed at 110th Street/Lexington Avenue station during a “target hardening” trial reduced evasions compared to nearby “control” stations. However, controls consisting entirely of “high-wheels” created draconian, prison-like environments, with detrimental effects on station aesthetics. Compromises with more secure low-turnstile designs were difficult, as AFC did not prevent fare evasion.
Production Automated Fare Collection (AFC) implementation began in 1994. New turnstiles, including unstaffed high wheels, and floor-to-ceiling service gates, featured lessons learned from trials. As AFC equipment was rolled out, evasion plummeted. Fare abuse agents, together with independent monitoring, were eliminated.
The MTA had tried to reduce station agent positions since full MetroCard vending machine (MVM) deployment in 1997. Agents, whose primary responsibility was selling tokens, now sell MetroCards. However, AFC eliminated long token booth queues, so fewer clerks were needed. Passengers now interact with agents only for requests like mutilated farecards, concessionary fares, or travel directions. Clerks were not cross-trained for AFC maintenance; that function was assigned to turnstile maintainers. The MTA determined that each station required only one full-time booth, serving dominant (or both) travel directions. Some booths were removed altogether because it was felt that MVMs would be sufficient.
Some thought the station destaffing plan would lead to potential evasion increases, and consequently more general crime. The original FATF (1988–1997) was reconvened in 2009 to review trends and coordinate mitigation strategies between MTA and New York City Police Department (NYPD)’s Transit Bureau. Further confusing the issue, agents themselves historically provided evasion counts in their normal course of duty.
Decision to eliminate agents turned out controversial with both riding public and elected officials. Representatives were concerned about constituents’ jobs, whereas riders were concerned about susceptibility to crime.
A 2004 compromise converted low-volume booths to high-wheels, high-volume booths to part-time entrances called “kiosks” (51) staffed by Station Customer Assistants (SCAs). Affectionately called “burgundy jackets”, SCAs do not sell farecards, instead they walk around solving customers issues, including fare machine usage.
Agents' presence in the stations is disputed. A civil suit concerning the 2005 sexual assault at 21st Street station, which occurred despite alarm having been raised by the agent. However, an agent saved a life in Cathedral Parkway – 110th Street in 2010.
The 2009 fiscal crisis necessitated more agent reductions, leaving only one 24-hour booth per station complex. Planned attrition program was converted to layoffs when fiscal situation deteriorated further in 2010.
In studies, gate evasion rate was found to be 1.5% unlocked, and only 0.8% when locked. Interestingly, unlocked gates also invite more “questionable” entries; rate was 1.8% unlocked, but only 0.9% locked. Keeping gates locked potentially halves gate-related evasions. Following this finding, NYCS reinstructed station supervisors and agents on importance and revenue impacts of keeping gates locked. Questionable gate entries decreased from 1.5% to 0.4% following this change, but illegal gate entries did not show statistically significant decrease when seasonality effects were accounted for. This measure seems to target mostly casual evasions.
Originally fare control hardware and staff presence was thought to affect evasions. Unstaffed HEETs (with emergency exits), a generally unsupervised environment, might invite rampant evasions. However, pilot studies indicated these locations had similar gate evasions (0.9%) to staffed locations (1.0%). At least in New York, agents do not seem to deter evaders. Unsupervised HEETs had similar turnstile evasions (1.2%) to staffed locations (1.0%). Unsupervised exit-only locations have lower gate evasions (0.6%) than elsewhere, suggesting evasion is a crime of opportunity. Exit-only gates are only opened when trains arrive and passengers open them from the paid side; evaders likely find it more time-efficient to evade through entrances. Only the most determined evaders would wait at exit-only locations for others to exit, to enter.
Passengers may be unaware of height guidelines determining when children must begin to pay, which were posted at booths that many customers no longer use. Prototype signs are being tested near turnstiles at the Bowling Green station.
MVM vandalism costs NYCS both in lost revenues and repair expenses. NYCS provides MVM vandalism intelligence to NYPD, which utilizes hidden portable wireless digital video cameras in “sting” operations to gather evidence against organized fare abuse rings and identify leaders. These “professional swipers” can be difficult to apprehend because they are very mobile and require strategic and determined law enforcement efforts to monitor MVM vandalism patterns, prioritizing stations with the highest vandalism rates.
In years past, theft-of-service crimes were often dismissed with time served (several days in Riker's Island), but by working with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and Midtown Community Court, FATF achieved escalating sentences for recidivists. The coordinated efforts resulted in a five-swiper ring being disbanded and sentences of over one year being imposed. Measuring impacts of taking down fare abuse operations is difficult, because even large swiper rings ‘sell’ very few fares compared to natural day-to-day fluctuations of the 8.0 million riders on NYC’s system due to reasons like weather or special events.
Legal framework and enforcement
The most important evasion fighting tool is arguably comprehensive and functioning legal frameworks to deal with evaders and counterfeiters. NYCS’s Rule of Conduct (62) has banned evasions since the 1980s, rules having been established mainly for arresting persons likely to commit other crimes (assault, graffiti). With appropriate legal framework, like traffic stops, evasion checks can be effective in identifying and arresting criminals wanted on outstanding warrants.
To round-up evaders, MTA fare inspectors continue to use the “surge” strategy first developed by Transit police. Renewed enforcement interests led to several high profile cases. Swiss tourists with allegedly valid passes were ticketed for bumping turnstiles. One passenger was arrested for exiting, not entering, through an emergency gate.
Legal framework is more than prohibition of illegal acts and prescription of fines. Complete regulations should address issues like: arrests versus summonses; arresting/summons issuing powers; whether undercover enforcement is permitted; disputes/appeals process (e.g. “my monthly MetroCard isn’t working, so I went through the gate”); dealing with genuinely confused tourists (e.g. “I flashed my pass, so going through the gate is okay?”); required evidence for conviction (e.g. whether video evidence are admissible). New York allows certain non-police employees to issue evasion citations, and utilizes both uniformed and undercover police enforcement.
Contextual security – expressly forbidding nonpayment and offering ways to punish rulebreakers – is potentially as important as having secure hardware. In Boston, students used well-known methods  to defeat MIFARE Classic farecard’s proprietary encryption, publicly demonstrating proof-of-concept forgeries. However, they did not acknowledge the highly illegal nature of using forged cards, making cloning not worthwhile for $1.70 fares. Chips implementing stronger open-standard encryption algorithms have now largely superseded MIFARE Classic.
Evasion prevention hardware
Video recording equipment may deter criminal activity, including evasion. Cameras are widely deployed in modern Asian and European transit systems.
Like other US agencies, New York City Subway installed counter-terrorism cameras at key stations. PIDs[further explanation needed] cover fare controls from every conceivable angle with high fidelity video, positively identifying terror suspects. They also produce clear pictures of entering and exiting passengers, including evaders.
On Port Authority Trans-Hudson (and some New York City Subway stations), hidden rooms with half-silvered glass or surveillance portals are provided for covert police observation. Perpetrators are apprehended by police that suddenly appear from behind closed doors when illegal acts occur.
MTA’s $60 penalty was internally set by Transit Adjudication Bureau (TAB) with delegated powers. NYCT increased fines to $100 in July 2008, the maximum TAB can levy without further approvals, to support conversion to Proof-of-Payment (POP) fare collection for the Select Bus Service.
Other preventative measures
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fare control systems in the New York City Subway.|
- MetroCard (New York City)
- Pizza Principle, the connection between single-ride fares and a slice of pizza in New York City
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