Page 10 of 24
On July 1, 1948, the subway fare finally rose from five to ten cents. "The clinking of dimes dropped into the subway turnstiles today will mark the first departure from a 5-cent fare tradition that had withstood forty-four years of assault in the courts and political arena," read the lede
in the Times
. The subhed: "Nickel Rate Universal and Inviolate Since the First Subway Ride in 1904." The system's private operators had an agreement with the city to keep fares at a nickel up until 1968, but those companies all went under; the city took over and unified the system by 1940 and quickly found a nickel wouldn't cut it any longer. Years of battles ensued until the legislature approved Mayor O'Dwyer's plan to allow the Board of Transportation to raise fares as necessary.