NEW YORK (PIX11) — The challenges facing the MTA and its riders are huge: there’s lower ridership, larger budget deficits, and more police in the system due to concerns about crime.

Every July, the MTA board gets an update on the financial plan and the budget for the next year. Officials are changing some plans as they look to 2023.

Budgets are based on projections. MTA planners had been using a consultant’s forecast that estimated ridership at 77 percent, but on average, it has currently returned at 61 percent.

About half of the operating revenue comes from riders. Lower levels translate to lower funding to keep things running.

Federal funding did provide about $15 billion during the pandemic.

But the MTA has had a $13 billion budget.

Financial officers say the deficits will arrive earlier and the agency needs to plan and take some steps now. They’re looking to paying down the deficit and instituting operational efficiencies.

The next major budget review is in November. It does include a 4% fare and toll increase in 2023 and 2025.

In the coming months, transit will also focus on safety, the transit experience and ridership trends to get people back on the system.

NYPD will increase train and platform patrols.

The NYC Transit Presdient will name a weekend service czar to address planning and execution of the weekend service experience.

New rider surveys will be done to gauge concerns and identify issues that can be addressed.