The Metropolitan Transit Authority has just passed its “doomsday budget” that will include fare hikes, toll increases and service cutbacks.
The changes headed our way are:
- Starting May 31, subway and bus fares will be $2.50 and the 30-day cards will be $103, up from $81.
- As for service cuts, 35 bus routes will be eliminated and two subway routes, the W and Z. Off-peak and weekend subway, bus and commuter rail service will also be cut.
- Commuter rail fares will increase on June 1, and bridge and tunnel tolls will increase in mid-July.
How is Brooklyn Heights affected? Like this:
The proposal also calls for shutting the full-time booth at the High Street A- and C-train station, near Red Cross Place, in Downtown; and the Montague Street entrance to the Court Street M and R station.
There are also several part-time booths that will be cut entirely, including booths at:
• the Metrotech end of the A, C and F station at Jay Street in Downtown;
• the west side of Flatbush Avenue entrance to the Bergen Street 2, 3 station;
• the southbound F and G station entrance at Bergen Street;
• the northbound entrance to the Carroll Street F- and G-train station, along the northbound platform at President Street;
• the entrance to the Borough Hall 2, 3, 4 and 5 trains at Court and Joralemon streets.
At least one full-time attendant will still be in each station — though sometimes in stations with no northbound-southbound transfer.
Bus changes include:
The MTA plans to scratch three bus routes including the B37, which runs from Bay Ridge through Gowanus and Boerum Hill before arriving in Downtown Brooklyn; the B39, which runs from the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge across the river to the Lower East Side of Manhattan; and the B75, which runs from Windsor Terrace through Park Slope, Gowanus, Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill before reaching Downtown Brooklyn.
The votes came as Albany lawmakers were locked in a stalemate to find any alternative solution, and the MTA said it had to vote soon so it could begin instituting the changes. According to the Times, should Albany work out a solution, the MTA has said it could reverse the changes.
UPDATE2: NYS Senator Daniel Squadron released this statement, below. We followed up and asked him what he’s doing in Albany about this issue to make sure something is done, and we’ll update the statement as needed.
“The fare hikes and service cuts that the MTA Board approved today are disastrous; if they take effect, life will get a whole lot tougher for all New Yorkers. We in state government must come together to prevent devastating fare hikes and service cuts, create a funding stream for the MTA’s capital needs, increase the MTA’s transparency, and strengthen oversight of the agency. Our city lives and dies with our transit system; if the buses and trains don’t run, neither can New York.”
UPDATE: Borough President Marty Markowitz sent out his statement, and has some strong words to say about the whole situation:
I am extremely disappointed that today, against the best interests of hardworking New Yorkers, the MTA Board approved its draconian budget imposing steep fare hikes and severe service cuts. I am angry that the state legislature, after months of hearing testimony and suggestions for alternative funding, including a plan by the senate majority, failed to reach a decision on how to rescue the MTA from its fiscal crisis. Clearly a large amount of blame falls on the Ravitch Commission’s strict and exclusive promotion of inequitable bridge tolls. This Commission was formed to explore the viability of all sources of revenue for mass transit. Instead, its findings deadlocked the debate by insisting that imposing tolls, at the exclusion of all other possible funding options, was the only way to raise the revenue sufficient enough to ward off these fare hikes and service cuts.
No one is questioning the reality that we need to identify funding sources to close the MTA and City’s growing budget gaps in these challenging economic times, but placing the burden unfairly on the backs of hard-working Brooklynites and the City’s straphangers and bus riders is simply not the answer. I remain confident that the state legislature will come up with the funding necessary to prevent the service cuts, fare hikes and unfair tolls on our bridges.”
From the elimination of M and Z subway service in Brooklyn, the truncating of the G train’s reach into Queens, the cutback in late night service on the N train in Downtown Brooklyn, cuts in weekend bus service on the X27 and X28, drastic reductions in regular bus service—including the full elimination of the B23, B25, B37, B39, B51 and B75—and service cuts on more than two dozen other bus routes, not to mention the decreased security from fewer station attendants and the increase in waiting times, Brooklynites will take a disproportionate hit and unfairly shoulder the burden of the City’s mass transportation woes. And unfortunately, the MTA fare hike and service cuts won’t take the prospect of East River and Harlem River bridge tolls off the table. The plan put forth by the senate majority offered solutions to the MTA’s budget woes without imposing these discriminatory ‘taxes’ on drivers who use the spans, three of which are in Brooklyn. Bridge tolls are nothing more than a ‘backdoor’ to congestion pricing, and the fact they would ‘only’ be $2 is not much of an argument. We all know that the next ‘doomsday’ budget will raise it to $4, then $6—where does it end?
Throughout this process, I have repeatedly offered alternative ideas for raising revenue, including a modest gas tax that spreads the burden to all 12 MTA counties, rather than tolls, which target residents from just four counties, including Brooklyn. I have also suggested the restoration of the long overdue commuter tax, linking auto registration fees to a car’s size and model type, a special state lottery and an extension of the car registration surcharge now imposed in New York City to the entire MTA region. And the MTA must change from within by cutting its own waste and mismanagement and selling off property and holdings it doesn’t need, such as 370 Jay Street. But so far, these are other viable proposals have been ignored.