Approved subway and bus service cuts just the beginning
The MTA scalpel isn’t finished cutting yet.
Despite approving $93 million in brutal cuts to buses and subway service Wednesday, the agency still has a $378 million shortfall that may require even more drastic reductions.“This is just the beginning,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said after the 11-2 board vote for the cuts, which will take effect on June 27 and inconvenience millions of riders. “The next round I would think would be much worse.”
Officials are still determining what more they could cut, but the options could be more horrific than what was just passed, transit advocates said.
“When does the service deteriorate to a point that people stop relying on it?” said William Henderson, executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA.Advocates said the agency could resurrect cuts previous discussed, such as:
- Reduce train service from 20 to 30 minutes between 2 and 5 a.m.
- Eliminate the Z line
- Further scale back bus service
The agency will have to come up with a plan for dealing with the massive shortfall by July at the latest, an agency spokesman said.The agency has a total budget gap of $787 million. To address the $400 million chunk incurred last year, the MTA proposed the cuts OKed Wednesday, administrative savings and the end of free student MetroCards. The student passes won’t be voted on until June at the earliest.
Riders yesterday we’re having a hard time being sympathetic to the MTA’s woes.
"They're always crying broke and we're the ones who suffer for it",” said James Park, 39, of the Bronx.
“(Cutting) service is just another burden on people who are already taxed enough," said David Szalyga, 26, of Brooklyn.
MTA officials reiterated yesterday that they won’t speed up a 7.5 percent fare increase slated for next year and don’t expect a bailout from Albany. Still, agency chiefs still have hope for federal or state money, sources said.
MTA CEO Jay Walder said any additional service cuts wouldn’t be as “major” as the ones just adopted, which will result in roughly 700 layoffs and force 11,000 people to take taxis or drive instead of using mass transit, documents show.
“This is really going to change the New York way of life, and I don’t think it’s going to be pretty,” said Andrew Albert, a MTA board member.
Officials hope to net some cash by reducing purchases, consolidating operations and scaling back $500 million in overtime.
“There are more difficult choices ahead,” Walder said. “We have a large hole to fill and we are turning over ever stone to try and do that.”
(Jason Fink contributed to this story)
Deep cuts for riders
- Eliminate the W train, replacing its route with the N and Q
- Terminate the G line at Court Square at all times
- End M service in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, sending the train along the V line in Queens and Manhattan
- End or cut service on 110 local and express bus routes across the city
- Allow for more crowding on seven subway lines during the week and 11 routes on weekends