Alice Rodriguez will wake up earlier than usual this morning, in order to make time for a commute that’s about 25 minutes longer. She’ll take a bus that’s slow and so crowded people have to stand in the aisles, “or sit in your lap,” she said.
Welcome to the future of bus riding in New York City. For years, Rodriguez took either the X16 or X20 express bus from her home in Staten Island to her job as an accountant in Lower Manhattan. Unluckily for her, both routes were eliminated as part of the MTA’s doomsday service cuts.
“I don’t know what I’ll do; I’ve actually been trying not to think about it. All along I’ve been thinking, ‘This isn’t really going to happen, the MTA will stop it at the last minute,’” said Rodriguez, 44. “But they’re not. It’s horrible.”
Rodriguez is one of thousands of New Yorkers across the city who will see their commutes radically altered today. The MTA warned about the service cuts for months, but this morning is the first time many will feel their impact.
The cuts help the MTA close its $800 million deficit but real-estate tax revenue is expected to come in much less than expected this year, causing some to speculate that agency could raise fares earlier or higher than the planned 7.5 percent increase in 2011.