- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf They Weren't Kidding: MTA Pulls Trigger on 'Doomsday' Fare Hikes and Service Cuts | Bronx News Networkbronx

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

They Weren't Kidding: MTA Pulls Trigger on 'Doomsday' Fare Hikes and Service Cuts

The MTA's service cuts will include elimination of weekday service
of the Bx34, which connects Fordham to Woodlawn.

The MTA voted earlier today to impose massive service cuts, significant toll increases and huge fare hikes on transit riders throughout the New York metro region.

The fare hikes, which will raise the fee per bus or subway ride from $2 to $2.50 (and the price of a 30-day pass, from $81 to $103) will take effect May 31.

The service cuts, which will eliminate several vital lines connecting Bronx neighborhoods -- including the complete elimination of weekday service for the Bx14, 18, 20, 30, 34 and 4; several other lines will be significantly scaled back -- will be staggered throughout the next few months.

For a complete list of service cuts, click here.

After announcing the proposed cuts in November, the MTA said the only way to stave them off would be if the state stepped in with some revenue generating legislation.

The governor and Assembly leadership proposed a plan, endorsed by consulant Richard Ravitch, that would bridge the MTA's budget gap through an 8 percent fare hike, a series of tolls on bridges across the East and Harlem rivers and a payroll tax. But the Senate refused to support the bridge tolls, instead offering only a 4 percent fare hike and smaller payroll tax as stop-gap measure. The governor and MTA said it simply wouldn't be enough.

Today, Bronx Assemblyman Jose Rivera said there was absolutely no way lawmakers in Albany would impose the tolls the MTA was asking for. "I would lie down in front of traffic on the Fordham Road bridge [he meant the University Heights Bridge] before that happened." He added, "Those aren't even bridges, those are just the extension of roads."

In a press release, State Senator Pedro Espada, Jr. blamed everyone except the state's Democrats. "The MTA took on too much debt, too much risk and is now trying to saddle the victims, in this case the ridership with bailing out years of bad decision making not only by the MTA but a three-term governor [Pataki] and [Republican] members of the Senate no longer in the majority."

He also said all was not lost -- yet. "I believe there is ample time for Albany to step in and prevent these massive fare hikes and service cuts."

The Times' City Room blog has more about the MTA vote, including how a parade of MTA employees and riders spoke before the vote, mostly about how the cuts and fare hikes would disproportionally affect the middle class.


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