What Transit Riders Could Get If Cuomo’s Transit Raid Doesn’t Go Through

How much transit service could the MTA add if Governor Cuomo’s proposed $40 million transit raid doesn’t make Albany’s final budget? Here’s a taste, courtesy of the Straphangers Campaign and the Riders Alliance.

Photo: Wikipedia

Service that was cut from seven subway lines in 2010, serving 300,000 weekday riders, could be restored. More than a dozen weekday bus routes could be added across the five boroughs, plus weekend service for more than a dozen other routes. The LIRR could run more trains and MetroNorth could add cars.

It would all add up to quicker commutes, less crowding, and more freedom for New Yorkers to get around without a car.

Straphangers and the Riders Alliance based the potential service restorations and additions on the MTA’s estimates of cost savings achieved with the 2010 service cuts.

In their budget proposals, both the Assembly and the State Senate rejected the $40 million transit raid in the governor’s executive budget. The issue is expected to be decided during final negotiations this week between the legislature and Cuomo.

The Cuomo camp has tried to diminish the significance of the raid, which would compel the MTA to pay off bonds for capital projects that the state had previously promised to cover. The advocates’ list of foregone service helps bring home the point that there is in fact a very real cost whenever Albany decides to divert revenue from transit.

Here’s the full list of service that $40 million could buy, according to Straphangers and the Riders Alliance:


  • Restore mid-day, nighttime and weekend service that was reduced on the 1, 7, A, F, J, L and M lines in 2010, creating shorter waits for 300,000 riders every weekday and 285,000 riders every weekend ($3.1 million)
  • Add 20% more morning rush hour service on the notoriously infrequent and crowded C train ($1 million)
  • Restore G train service to Forest Hills–71st Avenue in Queens ($1.5 million)
  • Restore W train one-seat service from Astoria to Lower Manhattan ($3.4 million)


  • Add four new local daytime and three new weekend routes in the Bronx ($4.2 million)
  • Add three new local bus routes and implement weekend hours for three weekday-only routes in Brooklyn ($4.7 million)
  • Add three bus routes and implement weekend hours for two weekday routes in Manhattan ($4.7 million)
  • Add three new bus routes with weekday and weekend hours in Queens ($6.9 million)
  • Add three new weekend routes, and three new peak hours routes in Staten Island ($3 million)

Commuter Rail

  • Add 6 new LIRR rush hour trains every weekday ($2.2 million)
  • Add 10 new off-peak weekday LIRR trains ($0.4 million)
  • Add 10 new LIRR trains every weekend day ($0.3 million)
  • Add cars to Metro-North trains to reduce crowding on the Harlem, Hudson and New Haven lines ($2.7 million)
  • Add two daily Metro-North trains each to the Harlem, Hudson and New Haven lines ($1.9 million)
  • Mark

    I’m slightly confused here: Aren’t we talking about $40 million being taken away from the MTA if Cuomo’s budget passes, meaning that we would be looking at loss of services in that case, or status quo if it does not pass?

    We can’t add services with money we already thought we had, right?
    Or is this just an attempt to demonstrate exactly what $40 million is worth.

  • Benjamin

    I believe it’s the latter, Mark — it’s a useful thought exercise, because it’s hard without context to understand what $40 million means in the transit world.

    Also, if the MTA or governor’s office is saying that the budget is so squishy that a $40 million cut wouldn’t impact service, then fine: here are some examples of what they could be doing with that money to *enhance* service.

  • Seereous

    The MTA could have garnered close to half a billion dollars more in income over the past 25 years or so if only the pols hadn’t caved in to Staten Island pressures and asked the feds to unwind the one way toll on the Verrazano-Narrows bridge. That lost income would have come primarily from through-trucks getting a free trip in and out of the City.

  • Mark


    It definitely makes sense, perhaps the negative case can be examined to. Examples of the services they could lose might make it easier to get people interested in stopping this.

  • jes

    They don’t care about enhancing service, MTA doesn’t want to have to answer to the union… The workers have been without a contract for 2+years… and it looks like longer. Just another reason not to allocate money and distribute it… between enhancing service and paying workers… they rather get more “aid” for usless projects, fund their bounes, pay for the lifetime free transit/Bridge and tunnel the board members get…. If they ‘get less’ the have a better reason to raise fares again.


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