Some good news for subway and bus riders: your fare will stay the same for all of next year.
That's the word from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority as they unveiled their final proposed budget for 2010. The approximately $11 billion budget is balanced, and calls for no fare increase next year, nor any reductions in service, thanks to help from Albany.
But beginning in 2011, the agency is calling for regular fare and toll increases pegged to inflation. And it acknowledged that "the MTA remains in a very fragile position with a number of risks on the horizon.
"This fiscal reality demands that we permanently overhaul the way the MTA does business." said MTA Chairman and CEO Jay H. Walder as he announced that he'll re-launch and chair a group that will look for ways the agency can fundamentally change its business model in an effort to become more efficient, and provide better value to taxpayers.
Part of the MTA's financial plan for 2010-2013 includes trimming 279 of its nearly 70,000 employees, mostly through attrition. Most of those employees work for NYC Transit, which runs the city's subways and buses, and several union transit workers protested outside MTA headquarters in Manhattan, as the budget was being presented.
The contract which covers members of Transport Workers Union Local 100 was drafted with an arbitration panel, but the MTA says it can't afford the 11.3% wage increases over three years, and has asked a judge to toss out the contract.
A final plan will be considered by the MTA board at its meeting on December 16.