The MTA has brought the pain today, as weekday commuters are getting their first taste of the new "Doomsday" service cuts. The W and V trains passed behind the curtain of eternity this weekend, making their final runs on Friday, accompanied by farewell parties. The Q is extending to Astoria to replace the W, while the new orange M train has replaced the V in Forest Hills and Manhattan before swinging into Brooklyn via the Williamsburg Bridge. All told, 15 subway lines will be affected, with the number of trains cut back, and as a result, three million people are expected to have to wait for a train for up to two extra minutes, the AP reports. Clearly, we're doomed.
Three-dozen bus lines are also being eliminated, and others re-routed. Many of the cuts went into effect over the weekend, and 750 bus drivers are expected to turn in their uniforms this week. Danaris Delgado, a saleswoman waiting for the M9 because since she couldn't get on the M8, told the Post, "Now I have to walk. Look at all these people—we've been waiting for 25 minutes for the bus and they're cutting service?" To pick up the slack (and cash in on the doom), TransportAzumah, a private bus company, is starting service along some express routes cut by the MTA. But the city's DOT has demanded that it cease operations because the company has not obtained a city franchise to operate a private bus service. TransportAzumah's owner told the Wall Street Journal he'd defy the DOT and operate today anyway, because, "The Department of Transportation doesn't understand state regulations."
The cuts are expected to save the MTA about $100 million. But the Authority still faces an $800 million budget gap, and sources on the MTA board tell the Post that more doom is impending: The MTA may have to make a planned 7.5 percent fare increase for 2011 even higher, or cut even more service. Or who knows, maybe both?