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Here's what taking the subway in NYC could look like with proposed cuts

If the MTA doesn't get the federal funding it needs, subway life as we know it will change.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

New York City's subway and bus systems may look very different in the near future if the MTA doesn't get the federal funding it says it needs.

Transit officials are asking for $12 billion in aid to keep from making drastic cuts to its staff and service. Washington would have to approve the stimulus package before December 31 in order to keep things running, according to the Daily News.

If not, the MTA would need to lay off 9,367 workers, increase fare and suspend some subway service by 40 percent, according to the current 2021 budget plan it has come up with.

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Of the roughly 10,000 workers laid off, more than 8,000 of them would be from NYC Transit's subway and bus employees. Cutting those positions would account for $1.27 billion annual savings.

This plan would mean that some bus routes across the city would be ended, though the MTA would make sure riders aren't more than half a mile away from a bus stop or subway line, the Daily News says. That being said, some weekend subway service would be suspended and weekday train service would be slower with cuts as much as 40 percent, the plan states.

That means that weekend service could have riders waiting 15 minutes between trains because there would be a 35 percent reduction in subway cars on rails.

For those who take the commuter rail, trains would come every 20 to 30 minutes or even hourly during peak service while off-peak and weekend service could mean a train once every hour.

Cutting overall service by 40 percent would save NYC Transit $641 million and MTA Bus $190 million.

And if you guessed that fares would be raised again, you'd be right. The MTA hasn't said by how much, but the Daily News says that the MTA threatened to raise one MetroCard swipe in August from $2.75 to $3.75 — or 36% — if federal aid doesn’t come through.

Even with the cuts, the MTA would still be about $3.1 billion in debt if ridership doesn't return to pre-pandemic levels. Over the summer, the MTA hit an all-time low when 90 percent of its ridership vanished. It's currently down by 70 percent, the MTA says.

The MTA board will vote on the budget in December and on any fare increases in January after public hearings.

These cuts could be reduced if the federal government passes a relief package.

"The future of the MTA and the future of the New York region lies squarely in the hands of the federal government,” Patrick Foye, the MTA's board chairman said on Wednesday. "Without this additional federal funding, we will be forced to take draconian measures, the impact of which will be felt across the system and the region for decades to come."

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