New York City’s public transportation system, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, is asking for a $4 billion federal bailout to help cope with a drastic fall in ridership during the coronavirus outbreak, The New York Times reports.
The MTA, which operates the city’s subway system, buses, and commuter rails, wrote a letter to New York’s Congressional delegates on Tuesday informing them that ridership on the subway has fallen 60%, on buses by 49%, on the Metro-North Railroad by 90%, and on the Long Island Rail Road by 67%, when compared to this time last year.
“The stark reality is that as more people stay home following the advice of medical experts, the MTA is now facing financial calamity,” wrote M.T.A. chairman Patrick J. Foye, who said that the transit authority stands to lose about $3.7 billion if this level of ridership continues for the next few months.
“The MTA. has already committed to finding $2.8 billion in savings over the next several years,” he added. “No agency of our size can find additional billions in savings equivalent to the damages we have and will sustain as a result of this pandemic.”
New York’s congressional leaders, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told the Times that they are trying to secure federal relief for the transit authority.
“New York’s subways, trains, and buses are our very lifeblood,” said Schumer. “Senate Democrats are leading the charge to include substantial support for the whole system in any package Congress will next consider to keep our vital public institutions stable and operating.”