MTA holds emergency meeting

March 13, 2009 6:07:13 PM PDT
It's considered the worst case scenario. The cash strapped MTA held an emergency board meeting on Friday to discuss the future. The MTA will decide the financial fate of millions of New Yorkers in two weeks on March 27.

Here's what it means for you:

Fork over more money, get less service in return and even still 11-hundred MTA workers may lose their jobs.

MTA board members have talked about this for nearly a year. Now what's become white noise for some riders could be a devastating reality.

"It's just a sign of the times. Everybody's cutting corners and increasing costs. We're all going to have to figure out a way to deal with it," rider Andrea Ascher said.

The average ride costs $2 but it could go to $2.50.

It was no secret that Friday morning's board meeting was a last ditch effort to put pressure on Albany to do something.

"There are only two ways to control this. Number one, we can increase fare. Or drastically cut service. Either case the victims are our riders," James Sedore Jr. said.

The doom and gloom budget plan closes a 1.2 billion dollar gap.

Board members hope state lawmakers will swoop in and save the day with a financial rescue plan.

"These are 30 percent increases that will go into effect. Trains that will not be there. Bus service that will not be there. People won't be able to get to the doctors, school, work -- or it will take a significant amount of time longer," the authority's chairman H. Dale Hemmerdinger said.

Some board members argued if lawmakers don't help, commuters should not have to pay the price.

The plan's author, former MTA chairman Richard Ravitch, said, "This is not threatening...this is not holding anyone hostage."

But as things stand now, the MTA appears all but certain to hit its March 25th deadline without a bailout from Albany.

That means the MTA could be left with no choice.

That means a monthly Metro Card could skyrocket from $81 dollars -- to $103.

Some commuter rail tickets could be up to one-third more expensive.

The higher fare to ride a bus or train would go into effect on June 1st.

But the region's 8.5 million daily riders could be hit with service cuts even sooner -- starting sometime in May.

Board members say the March 25th deadline for a decision is real. They say the system needs time to prepare for the changes.