Home Service Cuts Transit service cuts to go into effect on June 27

Transit service cuts to go into effect on June 27

by Benjamin Kabak

Mark your calendar for a transit funeral: The last V and W trains will roll down the line on Friday, June 25.

After the MTA voted to approve sweeping service cuts that will save just $91 million while inconveniencing millions, the authority announced today that all bus and rail changes will go into effect on June 27, 2010. Because that is a Sunday, the V and W trains, the two weekday-only lines slated for elimination, will run their last regular service ride that Friday. The M will turn orange and head up Sixth Ave. via the Chrystie St. Cut on Monday, June 28, and the Q, express in Manhattan, will run local north of 57th St. to Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria. The Staten Island Ball Park special will be discontinued prior to the start of the Staten Island Yankees’ June 18 season opener.

For MTA officials, the decision to cut service was not made lightly. “The extent of our deficit requires that most of the cuts move ahead, but we listened to our customers and made changes where we could,” MTA Chairman and CEO Jay H. Walder said this morning. “We were able to take a number of cuts off the table but unfortunately, many of the cuts moving ahead will be painful.”

Although these cuts will come down the pike this summer, the MTA did not vote on a proposal to eliminate the Student MetroCard plan yet, and politicians and advocates are still squaring off on the issue. The Mayor slammed the state for its failure to fund student travel. “It’s the state that has cutback subsidies to the MTA and the state that has cutback the MetroCards for kids so call Albany,” Michael Bloomberg said. “If they cut back our subsidies to the MTA, they cut back the subsidies for MetroCards for the students, I think it is an outrage but it’s not the MTA’s fault, it’s the state’s fault.”

The Straphangers Campaign, though, was not willing to let the Mayor escape City Hall’s portion of the blame. “It’s true that the State triggered the current crisis over student MetroCards when Governor David Paterson cut state funding for the program,” Gene Russianoff said in a statement. “But it is also true that the City’s contribution for moving 585,000 students each weekday on the subways and the buses has remained stagnant since 1995 at $45 million. If student MetroCards are to continue, there will have to be increased funding from both the City and the State.”

With this round of cuts, the MTA has only just started what will be a year-long deficit reduction problem. The agency had a budget gap totaling nearly $800 million for 2010 and still must come up with hundreds of millions of dollars in savings. To that end, the MTA is trying to renegotiation supply contracts and defer or eliminated unnecessary projects. The agency is going to cut internal spending my consolidating its agencies and reducing overtime, and the authority said it will meet with union leaders to identify more money-saving programs as well.

Still, on June 27, at a time of historic ridership levels, the MTA will eliminate trains and cut services because Albany has failed to provide for mass transit in New York City. “The reality is that closing the first $400 million is extremely painful, and closing the additional gap will be even harder,” Walder said. “We’ve just taken a very difficult vote, but there are more difficult choices ahead to achieve necessary cost savings.”

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Marc Shepherd March 24, 2010 - 4:48 pm

The interesting question about the new M train is: what will they do when/if the financial crisis is over?

Eliminating the V and merging it with the M is a service cut—make no mistake about it—but some riders will benefit. If you use the M train and commute to midtown, you’ll now have a one-seat ride, rather than having to change at Essex–Delancey. If you use the J/Z, you’ll now have a same-platform transfer to a midtown train.

Of course, M riders who go downtown will have lost their one-seat ride to Bowery, Chambers, Fulton, and Broad Streets, but I suspect that for J/M/Z riders there are more winners than losers as a result of this change. Brooklyn loses its M service, but the J/Z could always be sent there instead.

So: once riders get used to a Sixth Avenue M train, will it ever go down the Nassau Street Line again?

Scott E March 24, 2010 - 7:10 pm

Never say never. Extending the J/Z might prove to make such a lengthy that delays would mount up — especially considering the necessary slowdown over the Brooklyn Bridge. Also, that circumferential route through the three outer boroughs might be built one day, which would change traffic patterns significantly. But, in all honesty, I think the reason it’s being called the M instead of the V is so they don’t have to get straphangers to understand why the V is two cars shorter.

Russell Warshay March 24, 2010 - 7:18 pm

My guess is that when things improve, rather than lengthening the J/Z, the W will be restored, and that the W will run to Brooklyn during rush hours.

SEAN March 24, 2010 - 5:51 pm

Q. If you take the Q38 bus between 63rd Drive station & Metropolitan Avenue station, what did you do in about 30 minutes?

Is it even nessessary to reveal the answer?

Benjamin Kabak March 24, 2010 - 5:52 pm

I don’t think too many people are going to be riding the M from Middle Village to Forest Hills. That’s impractical. But it will improve the commutes to and from Manhattan from people who live in the southern parts of Wiliamsburg and north Clinton Hill.

SEAN March 24, 2010 - 7:44 pm

I was just posing the question more as a ironic joke or riddle. Your answer was exactly the point I was trying to make. The Q38 bus in effect does what the new M routing will do, but completes it in a fraction of the time that the subway would take. This is similar to taking a Ride On bus to either Rockville or Bethesda from Silver Spring. Both rides through Montgomery County MD, take 30 minutes, while the Red Line takes an hour plus for the same trip & costs 3 to 4 times as much.

Aaron March 25, 2010 - 1:42 am

I don’t think I see your point. How many people in NYC take any train from end to end on a regular basis for non-photography purposes? I’ve certainly never done it before. You take the train to get somewhere, not because the line’s route is somehow special. Maybe the L and the 7, I suppose it wouldn’t be odd to take those from one end to the other, but… not any other line that I can think of (shuttles obviously excepted). I suppose that someone, somewhere, commutes the entire length of the 1 or the E to Lower Manhattan, but again, that’s not the goal.

Benjamin Kabak March 25, 2010 - 1:45 am

To further Aaron’s point, if you were to ride the Circle Line in London from end to end, you’d end up right back where you started. Why bothering having it?

ferryboi March 24, 2010 - 6:34 pm

Still unclear to me whether the “N” train will run all local in Manhattan and Brooklyn, or local in Manhattan and express via Sea Beach? Also, will it still go over Manhattan Bridge or will it run local via Whitehall to replace “W” train?

rhywun March 24, 2010 - 7:15 pm

The document the MTA released says (only) that the N will run local north of Canal Street. Tunnel service south of Canal will therefore be cut in half, as will rush-hour local service along 4th Avenue in Brooklyn.

Benjamin Kabak March 25, 2010 - 1:47 am

The MTA’s thinking on cutting tunnel service south of Canal is that ridership at those stations is relatively low, and most of the area is served with nearby stops. City Hall isn’t far from the 2/3/4/5/6 at various stops; Cortland St. is a block away from Fulton St., Rector St. is near others; and Whitehall is shared by the 1.

A cut is still a cut, but it makes more sense than other cuts would.

Scott E March 24, 2010 - 7:21 pm

I can’t help but notice that, while all the public transportation divisions are hit with service cuts, the bridge-and-tunnel users will see no change (can’t they cut out a cash-paying toll booth or something)? In fact, they’ve got a capital project underway to remove the unused toll booths from the Brooklyn-bound Verrazano bridge which will make minimal improvements to traffic (in all honesty, they should be reopened and tolled in both directions like the other MTA bridges).

If they wanted a capital investment in Bridges & Tunnels that would help traffic and save money long-term, they should install photo-enforcement at E-ZPass lanes (which, by the way, has been highly endorsed at the free bridges), disable the gate arms, and eliminate the many police offers that hang out past the toll booths to cite E-ZPass violators. But that’s a different issue.

ferryboi March 24, 2010 - 7:31 pm

Yes, Scott, blame the drivers of NYC who either don’t live near accessible transit (like all those lazy Staten Islanders) or who are sick of wasting 90+ mins of their day riding urine-soaked subway trains or paying $11 a day for the luxury of riding (and often standing on) an MTA “express” bus. BTW, it’s taken a full 20 years for the MTA to begin dismantling the B’klyn-bound toll booths. Has it occured to you that if the MTA were to charge a toll in both directions, they’d need to maintain all the booths and a few MORE toll collectors to grab the $11 cash toll (yes, $11).

Now you can begin ripping me apart Alon.

SEAN March 24, 2010 - 8:17 pm

Those “lazy Staten Islanders” have a love hate relationship with the city. On the onehand they pay lower property taxes compared to their suburban counterparts, enjoy all of the same services as every other New Yorker. Yet they feel as if they are the red headed step child & want to become there own city.

One of the issues underlining this is “lack of Transit service.” S I is the most car dependent area of the city because it was developed more like the suburbs that are across the Arthur Kill in NJ, wich tended to be car oriented then treditional neighborhoods across new York built around transit.

You can correct this on some level by reactivating the abandondrail lines, but is there enough money to do this& would residents ride the trains are the most importent questions.

Aaron March 25, 2010 - 1:45 am

And yet he wants subway service to SI, but hates riding “urine-soaked subway trains.” Fixing those two problems at once requires a level of funding that isn’t under discussion right now. And, you know, extending the BMT over the Verrazano is totally going to provide more ridership per dollar than the SAS will.

Anon256 March 24, 2010 - 8:51 pm

Nobody is forcing people to live in Staten Island. If they want to live there they can pay the price in tolls, just as those who choose to live nearer to transit pay in fares and higher rents.

Edward March 25, 2010 - 2:02 am

My family has been here since the 1740s, and I was born here. Was i the one who neglected to build a subway connection? Was it not Robert Moses himself who said he didn’t want the BMT connected to SI because he didn’t want trains running over “his bridge”? Should I not have the option of living in the town I grew up in, or should I and the 500,000 other people who live here all move to B’klyn? And did not SI’s population explode in the 1960s after the MTA’s predecessor, the TBTA, built the darn VN bridge in the first place? Are we now not supposed to use it? So easy to say, “hey, let those drivers pay for my subway ride” as if the VN bridge and Battery Tunnel aren’t already cash cows for the MTA. Sorry, I’m not buying.

Scott E March 25, 2010 - 8:25 am

I don’t blame the drivers, and can’t see why you think I do. In fact, I do more than my share of crossing these bridges to get to and from New Jersey. I just find it odd that, when fares are raised, the tolls are too, but when service is cut for public transportation, there are no cuts on bridges and tunnels.

What I have no sympathy for, however, is drivers without E-ZPass. Unlike the GW Bridge, NJ Turnpike, or NYS Thruway, out-of-staters who don’t know about E-ZPass don’t just “pass-through” Staten Island, Brooklyn, or Queens. If you live here or travel here regularly, you should know better and have E-ZPass; end of story. As I’ve advocated with Metrocards, we should charge more to the occasional users (single-ride subway, cash tolls) with higher fares, and offer deeper discounts to the frequent (unlimited Metrocard, E-ZPass tagholder) users.

Brooklyn-bound traffic on the SIE eases up after Todt Hill Road – the unused tollbooths are awkward but not a real problem. But the no-eastbound, double-westbound toll encourages drivers (particularly truckers, who pay so much more) to go to Brooklyn via the free Verrazano, and head to NJ via the free Manhattan Bridge/Canal St/Holland Tunnel route, just adding to downtown congestion and taking revenue from the MTA.

Eric F. March 25, 2010 - 10:37 am

Just a comment on the last point: There are surely some truck using Canal Street to get over to NJ, but the percentage of truck traffic in the Holland Tunnel outbound is still pretty close to zero. It’s certainly no more than 5%. And I’d imagine that a solid part of that traffic is bound for Hudson County, NJ anyway,and so taking a route through Staten Island would add a ton of time to the trip even without regard to the toll. These trucks are of the small variety — no 18 wheelers. If a lower Manhattan law firm ordered some documents to be produced out of a warehouse in Jersey City, it would be sort of nuts to send the truck there via Staten Island and Brooklyn. We’d be better off that sort of traffic could be accomodated via a below ground route so that Canal Street wasn’t choked, but I think the revenue leakage caused by the ‘free’ route west must be pretty small, at least to the extent we’re talking about truck traffic. I’m just not seeing it with my own eyes and I’m there quite a bit..

A groundbreaking for the subway, 110 years later :: Second Ave. Sagas March 25, 2010 - 1:41 am

[…] one well-placed shovel, started construction on the New York City subway systems. As the MTA Board voted to cut service yesterday, we let the 110th anniversary of the day construction started on the subway slip by us announced. […]

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[…] and large, the service cuts the MTA must enact this summer will not go into effect until June 27, but for riders along the oft-neglected G train, the service cuts start this Monday. According to […]

John June 4, 2010 - 11:34 pm

I’d just like to point out that the service reductions don’t inconvenience millions of riders. According to the MTA, about 200,000 riders would be impacted. This is only about 3% of all of the riders in the system. Even if you count the lines that the riders are forced to transfer to, that would raise it to 400,000 – 500,000, or about 6% of the riders.


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