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Officials: Service cuts will "strand" riders

The MTA’s proposed service cuts are the worst in decades, officials said Thursday.

“I’ve been in this business for 35 years, and we’ve never seen cuts of this order of magnitude,” NYC Transit president Thomas Prendergast said during a City Council hearing on the cuts, devised because of the MTA’s $750 million budget gap.

By this summer, the MTA wants to eliminate the M and W trains, run fewer trains outside rush hour, cut 14 bus routes and scale back nearly 150 others. The cuts would burden 3.8 million riders.

“We are stranding people,” said Councilman James Vacca, the transit committee chair. “We’re cutting their legs off by some of these cuts.”

The cuts will save the cash-strapped agency $78 million, but Vacca called many of them “penny-wise, pound-foolish.” Truncating the G line at Court Square, for example, only saves $1.5 million, and discontinuing weekend service on the popular M8 bus spares $400,000.

Officials don’t expect to raise fares this year, but that could change “if revenues keep falling and other problems occur,” Prendergast said. Transit advocates want the agency to use $100 million in federal funds to help save service, and Prendergast said Thursday that there is an “ongoing dialogue” about possibly tapping the cash.

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