Chairman: Survival of the MTA lies in the hands of federal government after loss of revenue

The MTA says it is losing $200 million a week because of decreased ridership.

News 12 Staff

Aug 26, 2020, 10:16 AM

Updated 1,362 days ago


MTA board members are expected to meet and discuss funding and the MTA's future Wednesday.
The MTA says it is losing $200 million a week because of decreased ridership.
MTA CEO and Chairman Pat Foye told state legislators Tuesday that the survival of the MTA lies in the hands of the federal government.
He says subway ridership is down 75% and bus ridership is down 40%. The MTA is calling on the federal government to provide $12 billion in funding through the end of 2021. He told state lawmakers he doesn't want to ask the city or state to provide the money because of their own budget issues, but feels the federal government can do what needs to be done.
This comes as the MTA is preparing to start charging fares for bus riders again. Riders have been entering the bus through the back door - for free - for the past couple of months. MTA officials say it cost them about $431 million in revenue.
Starting Aug. 31, bus fares will be back along with front-door boarding. The MTA stresses safety is of the utmost importance, so it will still be offering free masks and hand sanitizer, and will continue to disinfect the train stations during the overnight hours.
The MTA says in January, before the pandemic, it was projecting an $81 million surplus for 2020. Now it is in a deep hole - a $16 million deficit through 2024.
If cuts need to be made in addition to the hikes, it could also mean the cancellation of special projects, including four new Metro-North stations that were expected to be built in the Bronx providing direct service to Penn Station.
Subway and bus service could be reduced by 40%. Subway wait times could increase by as much as eight minutes, and buses 15 minutes.
MTA officials are projecting cutting 7,200 jobs in mass transit in the city alone.
"Transit workers put this city and state on their backs and carried them through the deadly pandemic, risking their own health and lives. Thousands became sick and more than 131 of us died. Layoffs would be an unimaginable shameful betrayal," the transit workers union president said in a statement.
The Riders Alliance, which organizes bus and subway riders, says it agrees with the MTA and Congress needs to step up and deliver for New York.

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