MTA implements reduced-service plan, needs 'substantially more money' after ridership plummets amid coronavirus crisis

Kimberly Dole
March 25, 2020 - 9:34 am

    NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The MTA is implementing a reduced-service schedule that will still ensure that essential workers are able to get to where they need. 

    The new plan rolled out Wednesday as subway ridership plummeted 87 percent due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Even with service cuts, officials are urging riders to stay off mass transit unless you are an essential worker.

    "This reduced schedule preserves service for the heroes on the front line of this crisis across New York City Transit, the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North," MTA Chairman Pat Foye said Tuesday.

    The B, W, and Z trains will be suspended during the week and some express and branch lines will be running on local lines.

    Subway service will run 75% of normal, though morning and evening rush hour trips will be the same.

    “Most customers won’t notice a difference,” said MTA Chief Operating Officer Mario Peloquin.

    Bus service will run at 75percent  of normal service beginning on Thursday.

    The cut in service also reduces crowding in MTA crew facilities.

    LIRR and Metro-North will begin changes starting Friday.

    Both rails will run on a new schedule that preserves 65 percent of daily service, but peak trains will continue to run.

    Metro-North will continue to offer hourly service on Harlem, Hudson and New Haven lines, with more frequent service during peak hours.

    The MTA is losing $125 million per week amid the coronavirus pandemic and MTA Chairman Pat Foye says even after the $3.8 billion Federal bailout, the agency will need "substantially more" in order to stay afloat.

    “We will need substantially more than that to survive. We’re the lifeblood of the New York economy," Foye said. "The state can’t recover without a strong public transportation system.”

    The agency estimated it will end the year with a $6.5 billion deficit, according to Foye.

    Adding that even if they woukld recover 100 percent of their ridership over the next six months, the system would still be running at a loss.

    “Our farebox and toll revenue is about $8.5 billion in a normal year, about half of the money needed to run the MTA,” Foye said.