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MTA blames loss of transit revenue on Uber, Lyft

The 7 train runs from through Queens and

The 7 train runs from through Queens and midtown Manhattan. Photo Credit: Getty

The MTA is blaming a $10 million loss of revenue on the popularity of new smartphone taxi apps like Uber and Lyft.

The authority on Wednesday provided an update to its four-year financial plan, pledging to spend more than $200 million on service and maintenance improvement.

At the same time, the MTA noted that an annual surcharge revenue on yellow and green taxi rides had dropped, likely due to apps like Uber that allow commuters to get cabs but don't require them to pay surcharges that generate revenues for mass transit.

The MTA plan, which goes through 2019 and was originally presented in July, includes $447 million in additional revenue, including from higher-than-expected real estate taxes and tolls.

The MTA began aggressively cutting costs in 2009 as it faced an unprecedented budget deficit of nearly $2 billion. While the agency has steadily increased its savings goals since then, finding places to cut has also become more difficult, MTA chairman Thomas Prendergast said.

Where the agency found ways to cut "millions of dollars in one fell swoop" years ago, smaller cuts of around $250,000 are more common, he said.

"It's getting more difficult to hit those targets," Prendergast said. "But if you don't keep that pressure in the organization, you just assume costs and loaded overhead structure that you don't really need."

The MTA said it will invest $242 million of its newfound money on service and maintenance initiatives, including $21 million to replace "threshold plates" at the doorways of M-7 electric trains to shrink the gaps between the trains and station platforms. The MTA said the plates have been "experiencing an unusual rate of corrosion."

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