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MTA bailout the last, best hope for riders


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Thousands of Queens residents are counting on the state Legislature to pass a massive MTA bailout plan to save their commutes.


Without an infusion of at least $1.2 billion, officials are predicting cuts for 14 subway lines and 12 bus routes in Queens — forcing riders onto other mass transit and straining the MTA system.


Under the doomsday scenario, the elimination of the (W), (Z) and Q84 would coincide with hikes in subway and bus fares by 25 cents or 50 cents, and the Access-a-Ride fee from $2 to perhaps $5.


“It’s very bad news for tens of thousands of people who live in Queens,” said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign. “It’s pretty harmful.”


Senate Democrats hope to vote on the bailout — crafted by former MTA Chairman Richard Ravitch — before a March 25 MTA meeting, said Austin Shafran, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans).


But Democrats are concerned about the Ravitch plan’s tolls on East River and Harlem River bridges, and want to ensure that a new payroll tax in MTA-served counties would benefit the outer boroughs, Shafran said.


Efforts to charge East River tolls — such as on the 59th St. Bridge from Long Island City to Manhattan — have historically been unpopular.


“It’s always gone over like a lead balloon,” said City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing), who chairs the Council’s Transportation Committee.


Still, MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz insisted some form of Ravitch's plan is the only way to ward off substantial slashes.


"Assuming nothing happens with the Ravitch recommendations, we would need to move ahead with changes in bus and subway cuts in the early spring," said Ortiz, adding that fare increases would follow in June.


Other lowlights of the MTA's proposal include increasing headway - or time between trains - for 12 subway lines, and shorter hours on the Q42, Q48 and Q79 buses.


Straphangers Campaign coordinator Cate Contino figured cutting the (W) and (Z) trains would overcrowd alternate lines like the (N) and (J) - at a time when both would have reduced service.


Opposition is particularly strong against eliminating weekday service on the Q74 bus, which zooms through Forest Hills, Kew Gardens Hills and Flushing on its way to stops at Queens College and Townsend Harris High School.


Adam Rockman, Queens College's executive director of student affairs, feared fewer people would enroll in the CUNY school if they knew they couldn't make the necessary commute easily.


"In tough economic times, many people choose to go back to school - and [cutting the Q74] could kind of throw all that out of whack," Rockman said.


BY Nicholas Hirshon


February 17th 2009



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As i stated before sorry for the phrase but the recent MTA Public hearings was a 'dog & pony' show, a waste of time to attend. The only way to prevent the doomesday cuts is help from both DC and Albany.

IMO all of the emtions the people had at the hearings should instead be used on a letter wrting and phone call campagin to Silver, Smith, Paterson and all of the leaders in Albany.


My guess is some cuts will sadly occur (not sure yet which subway or bus lines)and the fare will go up. However i dont think all of the doomesday cuts will happen.

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The bill that Obama is about to sign is a stimulus bill, not meant for use of the operating budget, IINM. We'll still be suffering from these cuts.


What I thought, the money is going to those big money infrastructural projects aren't they?


Wait, is the Lower Manhattan-JFK corridor study going to be in there?

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IMO, the MTA not only needs to cut down express bus service to a peak requirement of 420 buses (may cost too much to pay back money if fed funds were used to buy the 3xxxs), but perhaps some service reductions that I thought were outrageous weren't so bad.


For instance, the MTA should seriously considering truncating the Bx12 Local to Grand Concourse when SBS runs (all stops afterward are at the same streets). Routes such as the Bx4 and Q56, while they should not be totally eliminated, should see major service reductions or downgrading (Bx4) to a 40' route.


Also, some routes in the Bronx such as the Bx5 and Bx22 should be downgraded to rigids only.


The M10, IMO, should be cut to Columbus Circle.


Also, maybe the MTA should pay WCDOT to run the #60 about an hour later, with the Bx30 cut entirely.


More later.

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I disagree. The MTA had to start saving money yesterday.


For instance, the MTA should make the Q12, Q36, and Q43 peak-service and late night routes only. During all other times, the corresponding N route would provide open-door service in Queens.


Another move would be to find a way to get the lease on the Jamaica Bus Terminal to expire early.

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Ok, well disagreeing or not, 8 billion for mass transit and other funds sent to states for transportation means the doomsday scenario budget will now be a moot issue.


- A

The money is going to capital programs, not the operating budget. The (MTA) will get $1.3 billion. $500 million of that may go to the 10th Ave. station on the (7), $300 million will go to Fulton St., and the rest will be used to renovate Brooklyn stations.

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I dunno who wrote that piece of legislature (that the $8B should go toward capital projects rather than operating budgets), but with the cuts facing the (MTA), and many transit operators around the country, it's a lousy idea. Even if we get enough $$$ for Fulton Street to get the fancy glass dome it was originally designed to have, it won't mean much if the platforms downstairs are crowded to bursting because the trains don't run often enough.

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I hope the (MTA) cancels the Third and Fourth phase of the SAS, since the First and Second is underway already...


Am I seriously reading this?




Do you realize:

(1) how badly the SAS is needed?

(2) how completely off topic that was?

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Yeah... Of course, if the (MTA) doesn't waste their money on something else other than fixing up the system...


Phases 3 and 4 are needed.

Now that we have the dough for it, I really would like to see an extra stop on the 7 extension, now that it is underway.


I thought you are not posting on this thread anymore?

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