New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has quietly cut bus service across the five boroughs, according to a report by the New York Daily News.
An email obtained by the newspaper that was sent by a NYC Transit manager said the cuts, “effective immediately,” are intended to be a cost-cutting measure.
“I understand this is not the way we are accustomed to doing business but it is the way the organization is handling its financial issues,” the NYC Transit manager wrote in the email.
“Since ridership is only at approximately 65 percent of pre-pandemic levels we are being forced to reduce our coverage of open work as a money saving initiative.”
The agency is not filling vacant bus driver shifts, according to the email. MTA bus depot managers were instructed to leave up to six shifts per weekday to remain uncovered – meaning drivers on vacation or sick leave won’t be replaced.
A spokesperson for the MTA denied the move was aimed at cutting costs, and said the agency is just trying to avoid paying bus drivers when they are not needed.
According to a February 2021 report published by NY1, the MTA received $4 billion from a Congressional pandemic aid package, aimed at allowing the agency to avoid service cuts until 2023.
Some 40 to 50 percent cuts in service were allegedly eliminated with the assistance. At the time, the MTA was seeking another $8 billion to help deal with a pandemic-related revenue shortfall due to reduced ridership.