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How odd: yesterday Second Avenue Sagas told us that 2008 subway ridership reached a 59-year high — but today the MTA tells us that its budget deficit may go as high as $650 million. The MTA cites a two percent drop in ridership this January compared to January of last year. A decline in employment, which usually gets people into the trains, is suggested as a cause. This too is odd, as we find the trains packed tighter than ever at rush hours, though maybe this is because New Yorkers are getting fatter.
In any case the MTA plans further cuts to “letter line” train service, and will probably come at us soon with an even worse version of its draconian fare hike proposal.
Straphanger advocates are already agitating for more state money, but the way the numbers are going, it’s hard to see how things can keep from getting worse even with increased aid. The glory days of the subway system are probably over. We see graffiti and broken sound systems returning soon — only this time the trains will be so crowded no one will have elbow room to mug you. Photo (cc) Runs With Scissors.