The MTA may become more green with its new initiative. Earlier this summer, the group proposed an additional $1.00 charge to the MetroCard as a part of their Green Fee beginning next year. This fee, however, will not apply when a card is being refilled or purchased from an outside vendor.
According to MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan, the purpose of the fee is to encourage customers who have a choice between purchasing a new MetroCard and refilling their existing one to opt to refill.
“This will help the MTA reduce costs associated with printing new MetroCards and will mean less litter in subway stations that ends up in landfills,” Donovan said.
Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development environmental studies professor Howard Schiffman said it is not uncommon to implement a different pricing structure to encourage more sustainable behavior.
“These MetroCards are meant to be refilled until they expire. While the idea of higher transportation costs are not appealing to anyone, we need to start assigning higher values to sustainable practices,” Schiffman said. “Plans like this ‘green fee’ initiative do that.”
The MTA estimates a $20 million annual improvement from both the costs saved because of reduced MetroCard printing and the revenue from the actual fee itself.
But a Steinhardt sophomore Freddy Millan, a Queens native, is skeptical of the outcome of the Green Fee.
“I’m not sure if charging only one dollar will make that much of a difference,” Millan said. “I know that people throw away MetroCards so that they won’t get confused as to which ones are full and which ones aren’t. I think people who use that method probably won’t be deterred much from paying the extra dollar for another Metro Card. They’ll probably just take it as another version of a fare hike and go on their ways.”
Bridget Greaney, a Tisch School of the Arts sophomore, agrees.
“I think that most people who take the subway can spare a few extra dollars for the ease of throwing out used up cards,” Greaney said. “Although I definitely see the logic behind it, I think it would be really hard to implement.”
In addition to the Green Fee, the MTA also plans on raising the fare in March 2013.
“The proposed 2013 budget and four-year financial plan we put forward last month assumes that the MTA will implement a fare and toll increase in March 2013 that will yield $450 million in additional revenue per year,” Donovan said.
Public hearings on the proposed increases will be held in November, and proposals detailing precise fare increases will be released before the hearings.
A version of this story appeared in the Aug. 26 print edition. Claire Zajdel is a deputy city/state editor. Email her at email@example.com.
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