Service Cuts May Follow Ruling On MTA Wage Raises


mta-subwayServices cuts are likely for New York City’s public buses and subways after a court decision that supported wage raises for transit workers. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority lost its appeal of wage arbitration on Friday when a State Supreme Court judge ruled to support a 11.5 percent increase over three years for the Transit Workers Union.The agency that runs buses, subways and suburban rail lines says wage hikes will add hundreds of millions of dollars to the budget.

An umbrella group for the City’s unions said it welcomed the decision.

The MTA board is to meet Wednesday to pass an $11 billion budget for 2010 — while trying to plug a $343 million budget gap.

The board has pledged not to raise fares, but is likely to cut service.

That decision was angering New York City residents. If certain bus routes are eliminated in this city, Ellie and her father would have to walk an extra five blocks to nursery school every morning in this bitter cold. “Learn how to manage your money … like the rest of us,” Cary Rosenwald said.

Even though the MTA got a state bailout it is still financially challenged. Two entire subway lines, the W and the Z, may be eliminated. Four subway stations would also be shuttered overnight on the Manhattan Broadway line at City Hall, Cortlandt and Rector Streets and also the Downtown Brooklyn Lawrence Street Station. On top of that, 21 bus routes in four boroughs would get the ax.

Among the 21 bus routes at risk is the M-30, which has a very loyal ridership.

“I’m not sure how I’d get to work. I’d have to take two or three different buses, walk an extra 10 blocks in the cold? It’s the best bus actually,” rider Charles Guadano said.

“I take it twice a week. It’s a great bus for what it is,” rider Rita Brand added.

As many as 25 other bus routes, including the M-79, may have overnight service from midnight to 4 a.m. eliminated.

When asked what he will do if that ends up being the case, Paul Rothstein said, “Take the East Side trains down and cross that way.” He later added going that route will be a real hardship.

All the MTA spokesman would confirm was: “We still intend to stick to the fare increase schedule that doesn’t include one in 2010.”

That was the only bit or good news for an angry ridership.

According to an MTA spokesman, the agency’s budget proposal does not at this time include any services cuts on Metro North or the Long Island Rail Road.

{WCBS-TV/Noam Newscenter}