There is one thing that connects majority of New Yorkers and that is the public transportation. Board members of the MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority) made a unanimous decision on making major cut backs for public transportation in the next two years.
The good news is the actual plan doesn’t include a fare increase until 2011 but the bad news is, with the cuts that need to be made, there will be more congestion on the subway, buses and also MTA will run less frequently on the weekends, late night and afternoon weekday. Also, the W and Z lines will be completely eliminated. Last but not least, the biggest part of the plan, by 2011, all students will no longer be able to ride for free nor at a discounted rate. This will affect more than 500,000 students.
The vote was 12-0; one board member, Norman I. Seabrook, was not present, but indicated in a letter to the board that he would have voted against the plan.
Jay H. Walder, the authority’s recently appointed chairman, laid out a frank assessment of the authority’s shortcomings: “In the two months that I’ve been here, it’s apparent to me that we don’t operate in a way that ensures that every taxpayer dollar that we receive is being used as effectively as possible.”
He pledged to undertake a top-to-bottom review of the agency’s finances. “In short, we need to take the place apart,” he said, adding that he regretted that he could not avoid the cuts. “I wish there was a way to do it fast enough to take the things off the table that we’re talking about today; I don’t think we can.”
The elimination of the student discounts attracted a series of furious speeches on Wednesday morning in the fifth-floor boardroom at the authority’s headquarters on Madison Avenue. “You sit here and bring anxieties to young children,” City Councilman Charles Barron said. “What do you want them to do? Jump the turnstiles and turn them into criminals?”