After an abysmal couple of summers, New York City’s subway system finally saw significant improvement in service this year, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Thursday. According to data from the agency set to release in full next week, the on-time performance rate reached 84 percent on weekdays last month, up from just over 68 percent last August. That is the highest on-time performance, which measures the percentage of trains that reach their terminal location within five minutes of their planned arrival, recorded in roughly six years.
The subway has seen its best on-time performance and the fewest number of delays across the system in four years, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced on Sunday. But while the stats reveal a promising start for the Subway Action Plan, launched by the agency and Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2017, the gains come at a cost for straphangers with off-peak commutes. The rescue plan, as well as New York City Transit President Andy Byford’s $40 billion plan to fix the subway, both which require new sources of funding, will require many subway lines to close on nights and weekends for years, as the New York Times reported.
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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is paying outside contractors $9.5 million to clean 3,000 subway cars and 100 stations, the Daily News reported last week. While the transit agency currently employs thousands of station cleaners, the MTA is contracting the dirty job out because the cleaning, as an MTA spokesperson told the News, is a “level of work that our maintenance employees do not perform.”
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Instead of airing grievances about the subway on Twitter, you will soon be able to complain to the boss of the system face-to-face. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced on Sunday that Andy Byford, president of NYC Transit, will host a series of town hall public meetings about the Fast Forward plan, the ambitious proposal to modernize the subway over the next decade. The first meeting will take place at York College in Queens on Tuesday, Aug. 21 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
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Bad news for bus riders. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will not expand select bus service over the next few years as originally planned in order to cut costs amid a looming financial crisis for the agency, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. Mayor Bill de Blasio first announced last year a plan to expand the select, or express, bus routes by upgrading 21 new routes over the next decade. But the MTA said it can save $28 million through 2022 by postponing the program temporarily.
Photo via Dan Phiffer on Flickr
Within 10 years, the subway system will feature a state-of-the-art signal system, become more accessible, have a new fare payment system and boast thousands of new subway cars and buses. These ambitious improvements are all part of a plan released Wednesday by New York City Transit Chief Andy Byford and the MTA, called “Fast Forward: The Plan to Modernize New York City Transit.” And the plan does intend to move very quickly. Byford expects work previously estimated to take nearly 50 years to be completed within the next decade. The top-to-bottom modernization of the system will no doubt inconvenience commuters, with possible changes to bus stop locations, as well as station closures and service disruptions. “Fast Forward” breaks down into two five-year plans, with the first half estimated to cost $19 billion and the next five years to cost $18 billion according to the New York Times. However, a cost estimate of the plan has not yet been officially released by the MTA. Find out more
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Another day, another missed deadline for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The plan to modernize the 7-line’s ancient signals has been delayed yet again, according to the Wall Street Journal. The MTA said the new system would be implemented by June 30, but the contractor installing the signals, Thales Transport and Security, told officials they won’t be able to finish until November. Andy Byford, the new chief of NYC Transit, said he refuses to accept the rescheduled deadline and has hinted at more outages on the 7, as a way to accelerate installation of the system. “I think customers would prefer to rip the band aid off and get on with it rather than have this slow creeping limp to the finish line,” Byford said on Wednesday.
One of the new double-decker “SuperLo” buses was put on display in front of MTA Headquarters today. Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit
They’ll be blue instead of red, but just like London, NYC will soon have double-decker buses cruising down its streets. As part of New York City Transit head Andy Byford’s larger bus-improvement plan, the MTA will start testing its first two-story bus on Staten Island today, and if all goes well, they’ll roll out on express routes in Manhattan soon. And to go along with the new design is a mobile app that provides seat availability information on express buses.