For the last few days, The Daily News has teased New Yorkers with references to the MTA’s “Doomsday plans.” The paper has run stories on the MTA’s potentially axing station agents and raising the base fare to $3.00.
Today, the tabloid dropped a bombshell: Reportedly, the MTA’s Doomsday scenario includes substantial service reductions and whole scale line eliminations. The paper’s sidebar tells the story:
- W and Z lines shut down completely.
- No more express J-train service, makes all local stops.
- G line nearly halved with the northern terminal being Court Square, Long Island City, Queens, at all times. No more service from Court Square to Forest Hills.
- M line halved, making stops only between Metropolitan Ave., Queens, and Broad St., Manhattan.
- B line trains arrive every 10 minutes weekends, up from 8 minutes.
- Overnight: Scheduled gaps between all trains running between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. increased to 30 minutes from 20 minutes.
- Midday: Schedules changed – less frequent trains from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. – system wide so that trains carry more passengers: 125% of the seating capacity, up from current guideline of 100%.
Buses: A few dozen bus routes eliminated overnight and weekends, including X27 and X28 weekends. Bus routes targeted for less frequent service generally are those with lower ridership numbers or where subway trains are an option. A few routes running weekdays axed.
This, of course, is terrible news, but I am wondering how accurate it is. Fewer trains would leave many New Yorkers disgruntled. And while the Daily News reports that B service on the weekends should slow down, savvy straphangers know that the B doesn’t run on the weekends.
Jeremy Soffin, deputy director for media relations and the MTA’s press secretary, issued a statement on behalf of the MTA a short while ago. He said:
“We will not comment on the specifics of gap closing measures until the budget is presented to the MTA Board on Thursday morning. As we have said previously, plummeting tax revenues have increased the MTA’s deficit to $1.2 billion. The MTA began belt tightening long before the current financial crisis, and budget cuts start with further significant administrative and managerial cuts. The size of the deficit will also require a combination of fare/toll increases and service cuts, which will be presented on Thursday. We await the release of the Ravitch Commission recommendations in December and hope they will be implemented to restore financial stability to the MTA.”
We’ll know for sure on Thursday after the MTA board meeting if these plans line up with the MTA’s reality. If they do, these plans could mean one of two things. Either the MTA is presenting this Doomsday scenario to get the attention of the people with the purse strings. In that regard, this move would be fairly politically motivated to get more money for the subways. Or else, the MTA is really in dire straits, and New Yorkers who rely on the subways for transportation are in for a world of inconvenience and declining service.