NEW YORK, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), a public benefit corporation responsible for public transportation in the U.S. state of New York, could slash services and scrap much-needed infrastructure improvements due to the impact of the eight-month-long COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in the loss of 450,000 regional jobs and 50 billion U.S. dollars of earnings by 2022, reported The New York Times (NYT) on Thursday.
Such a doomsday prediction was drawn from a report issued by the Rudin Center for Transportation at New York University (NYU) and Appleseed, an economic analysis firm, as the public transportation system is facing a large budget hole after the system emptied of riders, starving the agency of fares, said the paper.
"Ridership has plateaued at about 30 percent of pre-pandemic levels as more companies extend work-from-home policies. And any hope for a federal bailout may be contingent on who wins Tuesday's election," it added.
The NYU analysis projected that around 25 percent of the riders still using the system would abandon public transit if service is significantly reduced -- draining the agency of its already shrinking fare revenue.
"The proposed cutbacks will undermine any recovery for the city and region," Mitchell Moss, the director of the Rudin Center for Transportation and author of the report, was quoted as saying. "It will damage students' ability to get to school, essential workers to get to their jobs and leave the high-rise towers of Manhattan empty for longer than we can imagine."
The MTA, the largest public transit agency in North America, has projected a staggering 16.2 billion U.S. dollars deficit through 2024, though it has not yet divulged a specific plan for how to close the gap if the agency does not receive the outside aid it has been seeking, said NYT.
Earlier this week, the Riders Alliance, a grassroots movement for public transit, issued a report saying that the MTA is in need of a 12 billion U.S. dollars bailout from the federal government due to decreased ridership during the coronavirus pandemic.
The report also quoted MTA as saying that it would have to cut its subway and other public transportation services by 40 percent, and the railway services by 50 percent, if without enough financial help. Enditem