When I moved to New York, the cost of a subway token was $1.50. At the time, I lived in student housing at the St. George hotel in Brooklyn Heights. Marymount was on the Upper East side, so unless we biked or wanted to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge everyday, we had to take the subway. I did see few on foot at times, mostly because they'd run out of money--a $63 Metrocard was a lot for even the most responsible 18 year old. At the beginning of my freshman year, I shared my Metrocard with a dancer who had early morning ballet class. We lived on the same floor and when he would pass my room on his way to the elevator, I would have it wedged into the door frame. When he returned from his 8AM class, he would return the card to it's spot in the door, and I would retrieve it for my mid afternoon Communications classes. His day was over and mine was just beginning.
In the 2006, the fare increased by fifty cents. I was living in Astoria by then, and was floored by the new two dollar fare. It was a terrible monopoly because we all need the train--for work and daily life. Little could be done to dispute it, and the reality is, not a lot of people have the time or information to dispute these things. My complaints subsided when I started using Transitcheck through my teaching organization.
Since the beginning of 2009, the MTA has hinted/threatened New Yorkers with another fare increase of 50 cents and service cuts. The W and Z trains will be eliminated. Construction on the 2nd Ave. subway is underway, but that will not be complete until 2011. Lately, there has been talk of the city of Albany somehow stepping in with funding an "MTA bailout", and the fare only raising to $2.25.
I rarely lose sight of my drive due to infrastructure, but this has been incredibly disheartening. I feel disturbed that my money is being so blatantly pilfered, leaving New Yorkers to being treated with no regard. I know that I will notice a change in my monthly spending and income, but it will be minor. I cannot having to deal with this with a family. It's like a tax on families.