The MTA is hoping to avert a crisis that would change your commute

Roderick Joshua

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced the possibility of a congestion tolling plan to mitigate the effects of its pandemic-fueled financial crisis, an issue that if unresolved could cause some subway lines to be suspended.

During the 2009 recession, New Yorkers saw themselves stranded when the MTA cut and suspended subway lines throughout the city’s neighborhoods. Today, as the MTA attempts to recover from its enormous financial deficit c in a shaky economy, there are concerns that history could repeat itself.

MTA chairman John Lieber said that “service reductions are out of the question,” according to a New York Times article. Instead,  he proposed the tolling program, which would cause drivers who commute through mid and lower Manhattan to pay a fare.

The MTA said the program would aim to tackle congestion, decrease emissions in the city and increase ridership all in one go. The program is expected to garner over $1 billion in profit for the MTA, while also encouraging public transportation usage.

The MTA. has a $2.5 billion deficit set for 2025. Subway fares are a major component of the MTA’s income and the slow return to pre-pandemic subway ridership has worsened its financial struggles.

The New York Times reported that it is a real possibility many drivers will drive through the Bronx to evade the $23 toll. A move would not get rid of the high emission levels in the city, but relocate them to the Bronx while also increasing the risk of respiratory issues for local residents.

Since reopening, this isn’t the first complaint or issue locals have had with the MTA.

When New Yorkers left lockdown and returned to their commutes in 2021, former subway commuters found alternative means to get around the city as the subway system faced an alarming epidemic of crime, including fatalities like individuals being pushed onto the subway tracks.

In addition to becoming aware of the increasing crime in subway stations, New Yorkers also worried about the increase in g homelessness on subway cars.

In 2022, New Yorkers still expressed frustration with the MTA. as a survey conducted found New York commuters to be the most stressed in the nation.

As commuters voiced their frustrations with the MTA., the public transportation service has begun checking off complaints. In late September, the MTA. announced the installation of cameras on subway carts to help deter crime and calm the nerves of stressed commuters. The $5.5 million initiative comes after the MTA. received backlash for not having functioning cameras after a gunman shot up a train cart last April.

Last July, the MTA. put up ads for companies interested in installing platform barriers at selected stations to begin making the platform safer for passengers.

As the MTA continues to listen to commuters and their frustrations, the public service saw a pandemic-era record in ridership in late September.

But growth in the numbers doesn’t necessarily mean people are becoming more comfortable utilizing MTA services. Camille Tourdot, a sophomore at Baruch and native New Yorker familiar with the MTA, said she believes commuters have become “used to” ” the uncertainty they possibly face while taking the subway.

Although Tourdot said students and other commuters are still unsure of how safe they are in the city’s subways, for the MTA, the recent growth is a development of relief that could release it from its financial deficits and enable them to continue servicing all New Yorkers.