NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Transit advocates joined elected officials and a member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board Sunday, demanding that the agency use a budget surplus to restore and increase service.
Advocates rallied in front of the MTA Lower Manhattan office at 2 Broadway.
The Riders Alliance said in a news release that the 2013-2014 New York State budget passed last month included an increase of more than $358 million in the operating budget for transit – about 9 percent higher than the previous year. The increase exceeded what the MTA expected to have by about $40 million, the group said.
Advocates want Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the MTA to use the surplus funds to create a "Service Restoration and Enhancement Fund," which would be used to restore some of the bus and subway service cut in 2010 and increase existing service further.
The 2010 cuts eliminated two subway lines – the V and the W – as well as 34 express bus routes. Weekend and off-peak service was also reduced, the alliance said.
The alliance also wants the MTA to use the surplus funds to add Long Island Rail Road service during the late-shoulder evening rush hour, and add reverse peak and off-peak service on the Metro-North.
"The MTA needs billions, not millions, to provide sufficient transit service to New Yorkers. But now that there is a little more in the budget than expected, the first priority should be restoring and expanding service for millions of people who rely on MTA buses and trains. Ridership is at its highest level since 1950, and we have to run more buses and trains to catch up," Riders Alliance executive director John Raskin said in the release. "Forty million dollars can go a long way to restoring some of the bus and train service we lost in the devastating 2010 service cuts, and to adding new routes that help riders get where they are trying to go."
MTA Board Member Allen Cappelli attended the Sunday rally, as well as state Assembly Members Nily Rozic (D-Queens) and David Weprin (D-Queens), and City Council members Gale Brewer (D-6th), Vinceng Gentile (D-43rd), and Stephen Levin (D-33rd), the alliance said.
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