Doomsday Might Only Be The Beginning

If you have read this or any major NYC region transportation blog over the last few months, words & phrases such as “draconian” & “doomsday scenario” have become second nature. When you heard or read such words involving the MTA, you could do nothing but think of the massive fare hike & service cuts that were soon to be everyone’s nightmare.

Unfortunately these words & phrases only describe the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we could soon face. The MTA’s financial crisis continues to spiral out of control. Albany has shown its priority is to get anything done regardless if it helps the MTA & its riders in the long term.

The financial crisis is so bad that MTA CEO/Executive Director Elliot Sander is not sure what words could describe the potential new cuts, which could include the elimination of overnight subway service, that might be on the horizon. William Neuman of the New York Times has more in this report:

The executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said on Wednesday that a possible second round of service cuts and fare hikes would go “beyond doomsday” and he said that even extreme measures, like stopping nighttime subway service, could not be ruled out.

The director, Elliot G. Sander, said that the slumping economy had squeezed the authority’s revenues so tightly that it would have to rip up its budget for this year and start over with a new, leaner spending plan.

“I’m not sure the English language captures what goes beyond doomsday but to me, as a transit professional, as a citizen and a user of the system, they are just unbelievably difficult and I think some would view them as horrific,” Mr. Sander said.

Asked if he would consider shutting down the subway at night to save money, he said, “One can’t say that anything is off the table.”

Click here for the complete report.

This is is getting scarier & scarier by the day. While shutting down overnight subway service seems like an absolute last resort, can we really think it is impossible for it to happen? The financial crisis of the MTA is real as it gets. While they have not had the best track record of being on top of their finances or open about them for that matter, this is not a case of any of those scenarios. The information is out in the open for everyone to see. Whether everyday people or our elected officials care to study them is a completely different story.

I was browsing through the replies to William’s report & saw this ridiculous response by “Serendipitous” who had this to say:

This sounds WAY too much like Henry Paulson’s early September 2008 pleas for $700,000,000,000 in bailout founds, with no strings attached and no oversight. And we’ve seen how that ended up.

In the case of the MTA, short of the transit system being swallowed whole by the earth, or being dismantled and sold for scrap metal, all this ‘beyond doomsday’ talk is ridiculously melodramatic. This is not the apocalypse, so let’s get some perspective. (And I say this as a resident who travels one hour each way for work everyday) City residents managed to survive when the MTA left us high and dry during the December 2005 strike. We’ll find a way to manage now.

Either way, the extortion talk ends here. If we don’t stand for something, we’ll fall for anything. It’s highly unlikely that the MTA has absolutely NOTHING to give in terms of cutting its spending while asking riders to pony up 30%, 50%, 150%, more money to use public transit AND cutting service AND reserving the right to raise fares and cut services at will in the future. And when will someone finally audit their books?

To the casual observer, all the doom & gloom regarding the MTA & its financial crisis could come across as things being blown out of proportion. However to transit advocates & bloggers such as myself, Straphangers Campaign, Streetsblog, Subway Blogger, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, etc…. this is not some overreaction but the actual reality, more accurately nightmare that is staring the MTA & its riders straight in the face with a loaded gun.

The rhetoric spewed by this person shows they are one of the many who either don’t get it or care not to do so. Would they happen to work in Albany by any chance? Elliot Sander has been a straight shooter since he joined the MTA & he is being completely honest about how bad things are now & look for the foreseeable future if sustainable funding solutions are not put into place.

At the rate their finances are spiraling out of control, this could accurately be considered a potential apocalypse. When your commute takes longer or you have no options at your disposal due to them being eliminated or scaled back, ask yourself if Elliot was “extorting” you & the riding public. If you still think that he was, you are a bigger fool than even I had thought after reading your rhetoric.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Wow, that would be something to close down the subway at night. I heard it might run every 60 minutes. Maybe the’ll go with that. Guess we’ll see.


Shutting down service at night or even putting it at one train per hour will lead to a major economic breakdown. NYC is the city that never sleeps. If they were to just about or actually put the subway to sleep at night, it would ruin NYC nightlife for many.

I doubt it will happen as it would have to be an extreme last resort for them to shut it down completely. The money saved would evaporate from the cost of restarting it & shifting equipment & such. Plus I doubt they have the storage space to put all their cars away at once.

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