'Fix the MTA': Proposed legislation seeks more MTA funding, fare freeze, more trains, and free buses

Marcus Solis Image
Friday, February 24, 2023
Bill seeks more MTA funding, fare freeze, more trains, and free buses
Some lawmakers are proposing more state funding for the MTA, no fare hike, increased subway service and free buses as New York's budget deadline nears. Marcus Solis has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A group of local leaders is joining forces with some transit advocates to call for more funding for the MTA without raising fares for commuters.

The so-called 'Fix the MTA' legislation also calls for more frequent train service and to make bus service free for all.

The MTA is facing a $2.5 billion deficit and on Thursday the agency warned that that could mean raising the fare from $2.75 to $3.

But some lawmakers say it's time for the MTA to stop relying so heavily on fare box revenue and other Band-Aid solutions and institute some changes.

Among the package of measures they're proposing include freezing the fare at $2.75 and increasing the frequency of subway trains to every six minutes.

Supporters argue that would increase safety by not having people wait on platforms and would address one of the biggest complaints of commuters, long wait times.

The third major proposal would make bus service free.

The plan calls for the change to be phased in, beginning in the Bronx, the borough where residents are most dependent on buses, and then occur in the other boroughs over the next four years.

Advocates say free bus service has been rolled out successfully in other cities and that the fare was waived briefly at the start of the pandemic.

Lawmakers say if this is approved the MTA would be required to spend the money in a very specific way.

"We are not leaving it up to the MTA, we are saying $245 million a year to stop the fare hike. We're saying $788 million for the frequent service, we're saying $778 (million) for the free buses. Everything has been proportioned out to the penny," State Assemblymember for District 36 in Queens Zohran Mamdani said.

Supporters say that represents just 1.5% of the state's proposed $227 billion budget.

The state's budget deadline is April 1.


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More New York City news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.