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Budget Cuts In NYC: Controversial or Necessary?

By: Melisa Bisne Sharkly 

New York City residents, after several indications throughout 2023 have been experiencing budget cuts for the facilities in the city. While many New Yorkers find the budget cuts unreasonable and controversial Mayor Adams couldn't disagree more. In November 2023, Adams stopped police hiring and canceled school funding. Big changes are approaching; public libraries are being forced to close on Sundays and several other NYPLs are even closed on Saturdays. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has been having serious budget cuts, which is to balance the MTA's books while maintaining essential services and it raised some concerns about the future of public transit in the city. 

The main concerns for the subway system have been the increasing number of deaths caused by suicide or slips and the fare evasion amount. There are many gates designed over the years to manage the easiness of skipping the turnstile, recently new fare gates were installed at common stations to have a pilot run of the system. It didn't take long for New Yorkers to find a loophole in the system and skip the fare pay even in front of cops which cost $690 million to install. Some of the many loopholes are new fare gates allowing 2 passengers at a time or just being able to activate the gate with the wave of a hand. 

Many residents agree on the subsidization of fares to encourage people to pay fares. In contrast, this situation can cause more loss to the MTA due to the amount of fare paid by rule-follower individuals. Another major issue is the emergency gates which allow many people to evade fare by bypassing the turnstiles. The solution proposed was a 15-second delay in gate activation which can turn into something severely risky in a dangerous situation. The MTA's budget cuts are set to impact a wide range of services and operations especially if serious amounts of budgets keep going to waste because of simple technical issues and/or lack of consideration whilst designing new systems. 

Among the measures announced are reductions in subway and bus service frequencies, layoffs of MTA employees, and the postponement of crucial infrastructure projects to modernize and improve the city's aging transit network. The announcement of these cuts has elicited strong reactions from New Yorkers, many of whom rely heavily on the MTA for their daily commutes and essential travel needs. Commuters expressed frustration and anxiety over the prospect of longer wait times, overcrowded trains and buses, and decreased reliability.

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