MTA Budget: Fares Up (23 Percent!), Service Down,


As expected, today’s news from the MTA is grim: Highlights include a proposed 23 percent “yield” (read: overall increase) in fares and tolls by June of 2009, and the reduction of manpower and levels of service throughout the system.

Specifics should be ironed out over the next month, but a letter from MTA Executive Director Elliot G. Sander confirmed that “service reductions,” including “route modifications” (such as the previously announced J, M, Z and G line alterations) and “reductions in bus service” will also be part of the program to make up the Authority’s $1.2 billion budget gap. (One specific fare change was mentioned: raising express bus rates to $7.50.)

Sander announced that, given the “contracting economy,” the Authority expects over the next three years to lose vast amounts in real estate and state tax revenue, and in the value of pension holdings. At the same time, it expects to pay more to manage its debt. The MTA also expects ridership to decrease.

“The only really positive news since July,” said Sander, “is the impact of reduced fuel prices.”

Sander hopes the union will “make a modest contribution” through givebacks, and also hopes to effect other economies, but most of the fiscal shortfalls will be made up by cutting services and charging more for them.

Richard’s Blog suggests a federal bailout: “They should subsidize or provide relief to major metropolitan areas like NYC that need to continue capital spending because that translates into jobs in manufacturing and services.”

Photo via joe’s nyc.