A sharp drop in the number of passengers and the lack of financial support from the federal authorities are forcing the MTA to adopt a budget that provides for the layoff of more than 9 thousand workers, cut services by 40% and increase fares.
The Daily News, which became aware of this disastrous plan, described it as: “The next station is hell.”
“This will be the end of all the usual way of life in New York,” said Andrew Albert, Member of the Board of MTA. – People leaving their home or office expect to wait for a train or bus for a reasonable time. Otherwise, using public transport loses its meaning. “
Is it possible to avoid the coming troubles? According to the heads of the MTA, it is possible, but only if federal aid in the amount of $ 12 billion is received. Then it will be possible to stay afloat until the end of 2021.
Most of the 9,367 people slated to fire were on the front lines during the hardest days of the coronavirus outbreak in March and April. 88% of them (8238) work on the subway or on the bus lines. The contraction will hit this category the most. Only 12% (1,129 people) belong to the Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road commuter rail personnel, as well as the bridge and tunnel service. Downsizing will bring $ 1.27 billion a year.
As for the fare, the MTA bosses do not specify how they are going to raise it. Typically, tariffs rise by 4% every two years. However, back in August, there were statements that travel could increase by 36% – from $ 2.75 to $ 3.75 if the feds did not come to the rescue.
The third component of the plan – cut services – means that some subway and bus routes will be canceled on weekends, and transportation will be reduced by 40% on weekdays.
But even all three elements, plus a transfer to operating expenses of $ 1.5 billion from the funds allocated for construction, are unable to balance the agency’s budget, undermined by the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, all eyes are on Washington, waiting for help.
AIT spokesman Ken Lovett said on this occasion: “We are moving forward and hope for the best, but preparing for the worst.”
“Next station is hell”