There is no doubting that the MTA serves the mass transit needs of millions in the tri-state region via multiple methods. The most commonly known methods include the NYC Subway, NYC Transit Buses, Long Island Rail Road, & the Metro-North Railroad for starters. However the one method that is arguably the most overlooked is Long Island Bus.
Long Island Bus has long been known as a stepchild of the MTA receiving very little coverage in the media & even less in terms of news coming from the agency itself via press releases. The only press it usually gets involves the numerous complaints of sub par service by its riders. I happen to know a lot of L.I.B. riders & have heard horror stories throughout the years.
If by some chance it is not this kind of press, it will revolve around the continued funding issues plaguing the service. This usually stems from Nassau County’s continued stance of shortchanging the MTA in terms of the money they are supposed to provide to help subsidize the service. Last I checked in on this issue, the county’s level of funding was staying the same even in the face of huge ridership growth.
Fast forward to 2010 & with the talk of funding issues, service cuts, & eventual fare hikes, it should come as no surprise that the Long Island Bus funding issue is coming to the forefront. Rob Hoell & Stephanie Barish of WPIX have more on this story which was posted this afternoon:
The doors may soon close on tens of thousands of Long Island bus riders.
The cash strapped MTA is considering putting the brakes on its funding for Nassau County buses.
“This is my only source of transportation,” an upset Eugene Johnson told PIX 11 News.
Health Care worker, Gloria Avalos, who relies on the bus to get to work each day, is also worried.
“How will I get to get to work?” she asked.
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano blasted the proposal.
“The MTA continues to blame its financial woes on everyone but itself,” he said. “Despite balancing its books just a year ago with monies from the job-killing payroll tax, the MTA’s dysfunction continues to cost Long Island families and seniors through service cuts.”
Ryan Lynch, of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, says while the MTA is an easy punching bag, the county also needs to buck up, pointing out that neighboring Suffolk and Westchester Counties don’t rely on any MTA funding from their bus service.
“It’s really time for the MTA, Nassau County and the state to find a sustainable funding mechanism that will allow bus riders to get to and from work,” he said.
For its part, the MTA issued a statement to PIX 11 News reading in part, “The County, which owns the buses and depots, is responsible for providing funding to cover the LI Bus operating deficit. The MTA has assumed more and more of this responsibility over the past decade, but we can no longer afford to assume the County’s responsibility.”
Click here for the complete report.
At this point considering the hole that they are in, it would come as no surprise to see the MTA cut funding for Long Island Bus. One has to think, if other riders have to suffer, they should as well. Unfortunately that narrow minded thinking does nothing in coming up with ways to avoid having to make such choices.
I fully expect the anti-MTA contingent to come out & rally against this funding cut with claims of how the MTA wastes money, has double books, etc…. If, actually when these comments come out, can these same individuals enlighten us all about why their elected officials get a pass on their major role in the problem?
Nassau County has been shortchanging the MTA for bus service for quite some time. Do you think Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano had any ideas or solutions to help with funding for the service that a good percentage of his constituents depend on? Of course not, all he could do is hurl angry sentiments toward the MTA as if that would do anything. Typical……
Seriously people, you need to support true pro transit officials & get them into office immediately. If you continue to ignore all the enemies in the fight, you will continue to get blindsided & defeated in one round after another in every fight.
xoxo Transit Blogger