Advocates Issue Report Showing What MTA Will Look Like Without More Federal Funding

WCBS 880 Newsroom
July 08, 2020 - 5:34 pm

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    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The MTA is on track to use up its emergency federal funding by the end of July and the Riders Alliance has issued a report giving New Yorkers an idea as to what may happen if more funding isn’t sent. 

    “The magnitude of the cuts facing riders is utterly unprecedented,” says Danny Pearlstein, of the Riders Alliance. 

    He says the fiscal crisis of the 1970s and the Great Recession a decade ago won’t be comparable. 

    The MTA has asked for another $4 billion from the federal government, which equates to half its operating budget for the remainder of the year. 

    Pearlstein says his group has looked into to what it would look like to cut half of the MTA’s operating service and it’s not good. 

    “Throughout the day, service would look like it does overnight. Except during rush hour when trains might come every 15 minutes,” he explains.

    Entire lines could also be cut.

    Altogether, it may lead to the now slowly recovering economy coming to a grinding halt once again.

    “Even folks in cars depend on a well-functioning transit system, because we know if we were all on the road, we wouldn't get anywhere,” Pearlstein said.

    More funding for the MTA was included in the $3 trillion relief bill that passed in the Democrat-controlled House, but it hasn't been taken up in the Republican-controlled Senate.

    Meanwhile, more and more riders continue to return to the transit system as New York City progresses through reopening phases. 

    On Wednesday, the MTA reopened its customer service center, which had been closed for the last four months. 

    It’s good news for people who rely on half-priced MetroCards or those who are struggling to get theirs to work coming back from the pandemic. 

    “I keep calling them like every two weeks and stopping by at least once a week to go see if they were open,” says one man who showed up at the office upon its reopening.

    Riders can do a variety of things at the office, says MTA Chief Customer Officer Sarah Meyer.

    “Whether it be reduced fare MetroCard, MetroCard refunds. if your MetroCard just isn't working, you're getting the ‘please swipe again’ message over and over, you can come here and exchange your card,” she explained.

    While the office was closed people had to mail in their requests or call. Though, some say that wasn’t helpful.

    “They put you on hold, on hold, on hold, then sometimes you don't have the patience to be holding, holding, holding, so you hang up,” one woman said.

    The officer is mandating temperature checks for everyone, masks must be worn and social distancing will be enforced. 

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