20 ways the MTA can raise money without fare hikes

by -
Oh we’ll answer your questions. But it’ll cost ya. Via Flickr’s Matt Law.

At the current rate, the cost of a monthly MetroCard will go from $112 to $168 in 10 years. To help make some revenue, the MTA is considering selling naming rights for subway stations. But advertising and fare hikes lack a certain creativity that New York City traffics in these days. Here are 20 better, alternative ways the MTA could raise money.

– License youth basketball teams to sell something actually useful, like bagels and coffee and hangover medicine

– Churros on the platforms replaced by cronuts

– Every third car on the train is now the Nutcracker Lounge Happy Hour

Five dollars! One Lincoln, five Washingtons, half of a Hamilton. via NutcrackerNYC
Five dollars! One Lincoln, five Washingtons, half of a Hamilton. via @NutcrackerNYC

– “Premium” cars free of people eating hot food, filming comedy skits, solicitors, preachers and dance teams

– Coin-operated cell phone charging towers at particular stations where you’re likely to run out of battery playing Temple Run before the train ever shows

– Ticketed walking tours of the R, G train tunnels (not like YOU’RE USING THEM)

– Kickstarter

– See something, don’t say something? Fined.

– Install pay-per-use cargo racks above trains for people transporting mattresses, bikes, enormous luggage, strollers, 20 piece orchestral equipment, etc.

– “Pole hugger” fine

– Fantasy Camp: Train Conductor. Reduces expenses in hiring staff to drive the trains, and everyone thinks they can do a better job, anyway

-“Box seat” roof upper-deck seating option

– Metered doors for people holding them open for their friends to get in. Fifty cents per extra 10 seconds (five minute limit)

– Train conductor runs open mic, $5 per person. Every comic gets three minutes and the light at two. Two drink minimum

-Private door-to-door bus service (distinctly marked yellow vehicles)

Your exclusive new private bus. via Flickr user randomwire
Your exclusive new private bus. via Flickr user randomwire

– L train riders donate owl tote bags for the MTA to sell

-“Showtime” dancers subjected to cabaret license fees

– Sale of novelty foam stiff arms to plow tourists out of the way of blocking doors

– Bake sale!

Of course! via Flickr user Steve Rhodes
Of course! via Flickr user Steve Rhodes

– An Improv Everywhere skit where a mob of strangers just pay a bunch of extra money for no additional services or added comfort

Jokes/totally actionable good ideas by Dave Colon, Tim Donnelly, Eric Silver, Sue Smith, Marti Zabell, Rache DeLetto, Conal Darcy, Katrina Casino, Rebecca Fishbein and Cat Wolinski.

Related Articles


There will be two meetings in Brooklyn, one in East Williamsburg and the other in Williamsburg proper.


Subway arrival times have been accessible online for sometime, but this app nicely formats and maps the information.


Slime-fighting trains equipped with spray jets help, but it's an uphill battle.


Loud and ephemeral, the folding subway seat is far from beloved. Only tangentially related, check out this deck of subway-themed Pokemon cards.


  1. Not for nothing, but that price curve increase is pretty much mapped perfectly to the inflation curve increase over that period of time. It’s really nothing to write home about. Unless the story is that people are starting to be expected to cover inflationary increases, and not just ignore them.

Leave a Reply