Home Fare Hikes Breaking: Planned service upgrades shelved, for now

Breaking: Planned service upgrades shelved, for now

by Benjamin Kabak

Who had March 24th in the “We’re going to delay service upgrades after the fare hike” pool? After talking up service additions across the board, the MTA is unsurprisingly postponing the planned upgrades due to lower-than-expected real estate tax revenues and a generally shaky economy.

William Neuman, writing on City Room, has more of the bad news:

Subway and bus riders are about to feel the impact of the slowing real estate market and Wall Street turbulence. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has postponed a $30 million package of service improvements that it had promised to riders as a way to sweeten the pill of a fare increase, which went into effect at the beginning of this month…

Officials had previously warned that the beefed-up service would only be approved if the authority produced healthy financial results in the first three months of the year.

But the authority revealed today that the money it receives from taxes on real estate transactions had fallen significantly in February and March.

Gary J. Dellaverson, the chief financial officer of the authority, called the economic outlook “gloomy” and used words like “frightening” and “dramatic” to describe the fall in real estate-related revenues.

The agency has taken in $21 million less than forecast, and officials are concerned that Wall Street layoffs could depress ridership and fare revenue. In my opinion, the latter is a bit of a red herring because even if a few firms layoff a few hundred employees, millions of other people are still riding the subways each day.

MTA skeptics won’t be surprised by this latest development. To them, it’s business as usual with the MTA, and so far, the agency hasn’t said when the upgrades — which were supposed to include more G service and later hours for B and W trains as well as more trains along the 1, 4 and 6 lines — will be enacted, if ever. Considering the state of the economy, we could be in a for a long wait.

Meanwhile, this news is bound to fuel the fires of the congestion pricing opponents. If the MTA can’t even make good on its fare hike service promises, will they really be able to take the revenues from congestion pricing to provide the service we need? This news cast a pall over what had been a pretty good year for the MTA. It is a sad day for New York City subway riders indeed.

New York City Transit token photo by flickr user photoshoparama.

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8 comments

Kevin March 24, 2008 - 7:19 pm

This is a horrific PR movie by the MTA because it reduces their credibility even more with another bait and switch. I feel that they should’ve just kept the plan or at least a piece of it to placate the masses.

I would think the sagging economy is actually putting more people onto the subway and bus system because people cannot afford to take their cars into the city or around town.

These plans weren’t supposed to be put in until December though so we have time. Hopefully things can turn around.

Reply
Second Ave. Sagas | Blogging the NYC Subways » Blog Archive » The MTA’s worst Monday ever March 25, 2008 - 12:36 am

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The Secret Conductor March 26, 2008 - 3:57 am

as far as more people taking the subway because the economy is bad actually work against getting more people on the trains… why? because they are out of work. no work, no reason to spend 10 dollars a week on fare.

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Second Ave. Sagas | Blogging the NYC Subways » Blog Archive » MTA sells Hudson Yard land rights for $1B March 26, 2008 - 3:17 pm

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Second Ave. Sagas | Blogging the NYC Subways » Blog Archive » Work continues while service upgrades don’t March 28, 2008 - 5:21 pm

[…] Monday, the agency announced that planned service upgrades would be shelved. Coupled with a few other announcements — such as fewer on-time trains — it ended being a […]

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Second Ave. Sagas | Blogging the NYC Subways » Blog Archive » As Albany waver on MTA money, cuts and hikes simmer on the horizon March 30, 2008 - 11:41 pm

[…] news just keeps getting worse for the MTA. Seven days after we learned that the MTA will have to indefinitely postpone planned service upgrades, the news out of Albany is rather dire for the financially-strapped […]

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Second Ave. Sagas | Blogging the NYC Subways » Blog Archive » MTA Source: If congestion pricing fails, expect more fare hikes April 4, 2008 - 12:01 am

[…] the MTA, the fiscal news really is this bad. Just a 10 days after the MTA had to indefinitely postpone service upgrades that should have come our way after the fare hike, Benjamin notes that the […]

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Second Ave. Sagas | A New York City Subway Blog » Blog Archive » Planned service upgrades going… going… gone June 19, 2008 - 1:13 am

[…] three months after announcing that the service upgrades were to be postponed, the MTA has shelved them entirely due to dire financial circumstances. What an utterly […]

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