The MTA recently revealed their budget for the coming year, and it contained some rather large lumps of coal for riders just in time for the holiday season. Here's a quick rundown of the proposed cuts that the MTA is considering to close its budget gap:
Eliminating the Z and W trains; cutting the G off at Court Square station at all times; cutting the M off at Broad Street station at all times; increasing wait times on “letter” subways on weekends to 10 minutes; increasing wait times on overnight trains to 30 minutes; cramming about 18 more passengers into every subway car; charging half price for currently free student MetroCards in 2010 and full price in 2011; eliminating a toll rebate for Rockaway residents who use the Cross Bay Bridge; ending door-to-door Access-A-Ride service for disabled and elderly riders, bringing them to the nearest accessible stop instead; service reductions on Metro-North Railroad and LIRR ; cutting service on several Brooklyn buses in addition to X25, X27, X28 and X32 express buses; eliminating the Q26, Q56, Q74, Q75, Q84 buses; eliminating weekend service on the Q14, Q31, Q76, Q79 buses; and shortening hours on the Q30, Q42, Q48, and Q79 bus routes.
Those are some pretty drastic cuts, which come on the heels of a fare hike in May, as well as the implementation of a new payroll tax in regions that are serviced by the MTA, both of which the authority assured lawmakers and the riding public would prevent exactly the kind of service cuts they have now put back on the table.
Honestly, we don't know what the solution is anymore.
The only thing you can count on with the MTA these days is bad news. Whether its service cuts or fare hikes or worse – like keeping two sets of financial records, one for the public and one for their own use – it's never good news when it comes to getting around New York City.
It's likely that all of the cuts won't be implemented, but we don't know how that is going to be achieved. The governor has already said that there is no way the cash-strapped state can help close the gap, so the next easiest way to raise more revenue is by tapping an already tapped-out ridership.
For years, elected officials and mass transit advocates have been calling for more oversight when it comes to the MTA in an effort to insure that the agency is being run efficiently, but that oversight still seems to not exist, and it doesn't look like the MTA is interested in overhauling itself, so all we can say to the bus and subway riders our there is start saving your money now.