MTA warns of fare increases, major cuts to subway service without federal bailout

The cash-starved MTA will be forced to raise fares and dramatically reduce service on its subways, bus and commuter rails without another federal bailout, transit officials warned Wednesday.

Potential cuts include a 40 percent reduction in subway service, 50 percent cuts on the commuter rails and the elimination of Metro-North’s west-of-Hudson service, officials said.

“We are facing the worst crisis in MTA history, and we will be forced to take draconian actions without immediate and substantial aid,” MTA Chairman Pat Foye said during an emergency agency board meeting.

“We are $12 billion short and that reality is not going away,” said Foye, whose agency has had it coffers severely depleted by dramatic drops in fare, toll and tax revenues since the COVID-19 pandemic struck the city.

“The solution to this nightmare resides in Washington,” he told board members. “It is shameful and outrageous and that US Senate leadership continues to ignore our needs.”

Other budget reductions on the table include a $1 increase in bridge tolls and 1 percent fare increase — on top of already-scheduled biannual fare and toll hikes — as well as a wage freeze, accessibility cuts and the cancellation of maintenance and modernization efforts.

State law requires the MTA pass a balanced budget at the end of each fiscal year — meaning the proposed cuts would go before the board in November or December, officials said.

Even then, the cuts would only make up less than $5 billion of the $12 billion deficit the MTA faces through the end of 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“If they don’t take the action to bail us out, they’re going to bankrupt the agency,” board member Larry Schwartz said.

“These options and choices are unacceptable, and they’re not sustainable, and they don’t even get you where you need to be, even if you were able to do every single one of them.”

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