It’s official: to stave off the giant declines in tax revenues for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency will be doing the following:
- Raising fares and tolls systemwide by 23% (probably means increasing base fare from $2.00 to $2.50 and a monthly pass to $100.00)
- Firing 2700 people who work for New York City Transit, 173 for Long Island Rail Road, and 88 for Metro-North
- Eliminating the W and Z Subway Lines (which would not involve closing any stops)
- Shortening the route of the M and G Subway Lines
- Lowering the frequency of letter-line trains from 8 minutes to 10 minutes on weekends
- Lowering the frequency of all trains from 20 minutes to 30 minutes from 2 to 5 am
The overall consequence of these draconian cuts will be dramatically less productive service from the nation’s largest transit provider in a city that relies completely on transit.
These are incredibly scary cuts, especially in light of the fact that the system is unable at the moment to fund its next 5-year plan. Something must be done.
MTA leaders are suggesting that the only way to avert the proposed cuts is to demand more money from the city and state. But the fact is that both of those levels of government are also facing dramatic cuts – and they don’t have the ability to increase funding. So the only real place to turn is Washington. The federal government must take a position and increase funding.
This is especially true for a very simple reason: New York City’s farebox recovery ratio is higher than that of any other transit system in the country. What does this mean? More of the system is paid for directly through fares – 67% – than anywhere else in the United States, and the proposed changes would increase this ratio to an astounding and inappropriate 83%. BART’s ratio is 45%; L.A’s is 31%; Washington’s is 62%.
New York City should not be forced to rely so much more on fares than these other systems, especially when the subways have been attracting more and more riders every year. It would be simply unreasonable for the federal government to allow the city’s transit system to sink into an abyss because of a lack of funds from external sources.