MTA’s Doomsday Scenario?

As you know by now, the MTA is facing a huge budget deficit. The deficit seems to get bigger everytime you look. The prospects look so bleak that talk of actual service cuts has surfaced. The last thing our system needs is service cuts when ridership is at a very high level & will continue to grow. Over the last few days, the New York Daily News has written many articles highlighting what riders might be facing whether it be a $3 fare or steep service cuts. In terms of service cuts, none of the articles had details as to what exactly would get cut. However all of that changed this morning when reporter Pete Donohue dropped a huge bombshell in revealing what some of the actual service cuts might be:

The MTA’s doomsday budget will wipe out the W line, zap the Z line and ax more than 1,500 NYC Transit jobs, the Daily News has learned.

The list of bus and subway cuts the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will unveil at its monthly board meeting Thursday is extensive and potentially bruising, sources said.

Riders can expect longer waits, more-crowded rides and having to make additional transfers to get to their destinations if the draconian moves are put into effect.

“Oh, this is not good,” said Gladeys Loaiza, a housekeeper from Queens who rides the W train. “When I get on in the morning, I can’t sit now. What’s it going to be like when the W train is gone?”

According to sources, the cuts include:

– Elimination of at least a handful of bus and subway routes, including the W and Z subway train lines.

– Fewer transit workers in the subways because 600 or so station agent positions will be axed and about 350 administrative posts.

– Longer gaps between scheduled trains at midday and between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.

– Expanded subway loading guidelines to allow for more crowding of trains.

– Eliminating bus service during late nights and weekends on dozens of routes that have low ridership.

Positions: More than 1,500 axed – including approximately 350 administrators and managers; approximately 700 station agents and bus drivers combined.


* 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.

Click here for the complete report.

This report led to MTA Deputy Director of Media Relations Jeremy Soffin to issue a statement via e-mail shortly after 11am which 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.

While the MTA is keeping mum on the details until Thursday, I get the feeling that some of Pete’s report is accurate. If this is the case, we are in deep trouble. I can only hope that when the official details come out during Thursday’s board meeting, our elected officials will wake up & realize that the MTA needs help & must get it one way or another. If they do finally get with the program, maybe this “doomsday scenario” will be just what we all needed. If so, smart move on the MTA’s part.

P.S. Sorry for not posting sooner but I was in the midst of some business when I received the MTA’s statement.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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As an Astorian, I’m very worried about this.

But, I had a thought. If the W is killed, the MTA should run the Q to Astoria during rush hour. It wouldn’t save as much money, but it makes sense. The Qs will eventually run up to Harlem with the SAS, so why not let them run to Astoria for a few years?

Hello Bill,

Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns. I think your idea has some merit. However considering the financial crisis going on, I don’t know if the MTA would undergo a terminal change unless it saved them money or was warranted based on ridership.

Some feel the W was overkill although I did not agree with that thought process. While it was not a sexy line by any means, it had a clear purpose & for the most part did an adequate job in fulfilling it.

[…] afternoon I wrote about the huge service cuts bombshell provided by New York Daily News reporter Pete Donohue. The bombshell included specific details of […]

The B doesn’t run on weekends.

Hello Tim,

Thanks for leaving a comment. I noticed that mistake as well in regards to the B. I assumed it was a mistake by the New York Daily News.

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