Source: New York Transit Museum. Note: Inflation adjusted
figures are not available before 1913.
Transit Fare for the New York City Subway, 1904-2015
Since it was opened in 1904, the New York City subway
operated on a flat fare structure, implying that fares are
irrespective of the distance travelled. Adjusted to inflation,
fares have substantially increased over the years, the 2015 base
fare ($2.75) being about three times the fare structure that was
prevailing until the 1950s ($0.75 2015 dollars). Still, most
users are not paying the full base fare, but get various
discounts, namely the monthly unlimited rides plan.
In the history of the New York City subway, 1947 was
the lowest year for fare adjusted to inflation, as users
paid the equivalent of $0.53 2015 dollars (the fare was 5
cents, the same since the opening of the system in 1904).
Then, in the 1950s and 1960s the fare structure was around
$1.25 2015 dollars (15 to 20 cents). Although, fares were
increased several times in the 1970s and 1980s, these
increases only permitted the fare to keep up with the high
inflation rates that prevailed around that time. The fare
structure remained around $1.75 2015 dollars for that
period. From the 1990s, the pattern changed as fare
increases systematically surpassed the rate of inflation.