NYC Subway and Bus Fares Jump to $2.90 Now But for Roosevelt Island…


Fares jump for New York City buses and subways today, August 20th, 2023. The increases are small and the first since the pandemic. But for Roosevelt Island, it’s the same old picture of doubling the losses.

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

The grinding truth about the fares jumping is that it’s one more increment of collections that the MTA will not share with Roosevelt Island. That’s because the fare increase includes the Tram.

The MTA has stuck it to weak sister RIOC for nearly 20 years now. In 2004, RIOC’s legal brain trust struck a revenue-sharing deal that did not include an escalator clause.

Put simply, all these years later, the MTA still shares only $2.00 while collecting $2.75 today and $2.90 going forward today. All the years of ineffective RIOC crying, yelling, pushing and pulling have not gotten the MTA to budge an inch.

Where Does the Fare Jump Land?

This is the hard part, the place where Roosevelt Island’s lack of voice and democracy hurts the most.

All this has gone on while Tram operations increasingly bleed red. The losses increase because of mismanagement by political appointees with limited skills. They are running the place under orders from Governor Kathy Hochul’s executive chamber in Albany.

Hochul – Cuomo before her – controls both agencies but refuses to help Roosevelt Island. We’re a tiny voting block that doesn’t send her huge campaign contributions, and case closed.

Even when and if RIOC strikes a fair deal that gives them an equal share of Tram revenues, the Tram will still lose money. Mismanagement has gone on too long under Shelton Haynes.

The POMA management deal for operating the Tram – they displaced RIOC employees because it was supposed to save money – already costs over $1 million more than they take in from ridership. But also, the increased ridership from tourism encouraged by Haynes forced at least a $1 million plus liability insurance increase.

(The insurance number is according to RIOC, but they may be fudged to cover enormous liability increases resulting from lawsuits and investigations targeting Haynes, all handled by costly outside legal services.)

Of course, the Tram now and always will require subsidies, but here’s the infuriating part. The group providing subsidies is one you meet every day: Roosevelt Island residents and businesses via the hidden RIOC tax.

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