After months of what has seemed like rapidly accelerating deterioration, scary incidents, complaints and finger-pointing, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority revealed on Tuesday an $800 million emergency rescue plan for the city’s beleaguered subway system, the New York Times reports. Some key solutions identified for the initial phase of the plan, called “MTA Moving Forward,” included taking out seats on some cars–Boston’s transit system has done this in some cases to make room for more commuters. When asked when riders would begin to see the benefits of the plan, MTA chairman Joseph Lhota said that key parts of the plan’s initial phase would be implemented “relatively quickly.”
metropolitan transit authority
Fighters for the Fair Fare initiative to secure half-priced MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers strengthened their resolve Wednesday as the Metropolitan Transit Authority announced plans to increase fares by 25 cents early next year. The group argues that the brunt of bus and subway fare increases fall on the city’s low-income residents who might forego food, their education, looking for a job and appreciating what the city has to offer because they can’t pay a fare. About 800,000 New Yorkers would be eligible for reduced fares, according to research from the Community Service Society. Each person could save around $700 a year.
The MTA is showing its age in a new video put forth by the public benefit corporation. “People know the system is old,” the narrator of MTA’s video opens, “but I don’t think they realize just how old it is.” The New York City subway system has been running since 1904, and as we previously reported in December, it’s been running on the same technology used in the 1930s.
In the video, computers are noticeably absent from the West 4th Street Supervisory Tower, which is in control of all of the train movements around the area. Instead there are plenty of pens and papers, as well as old, lever-operated machinery that the railroad industry has long stopped manufacturing. It’s no wonder that the MTA has put out this video promoting their Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) system, a project that aims to modernize the subway.
A new study conducted by NYU’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management shows just how much impact proximity to public transit–in this case to Manhattan–can have on one’s earning power. The Rudin Center examined 177 NYC zip codes and found that those living closest to transit have the highest median income and the lowest unemployment rate.
“In New York, mass transit is the path to economic mobility, not education,” Mitchell Moss, the center’s director, told the WSJ. “It’s far more important to have a MetroCard than a college degree.”
Most of our commutes are rife with subway delays, over-crowding and shutdowns, and while you can credit some of those to the sick passengers (and a handful of dizzy dieters), a lot of the blame falls on the fact that our subway still runs on an antiquated system built in the 1930s. Transit authorities are only now beginning to replace the eight-decade-old system, which still uses—wait for it—pencil and paper to track train progress. The update is a long overdue one, yes, but don’t expect your commute to get any more comfortable in the near future. With 700 miles of track to cover, the time estimated to make the switch won’t be much of a boon for us six million riders now boarding daily.
If you feel like your subway rides are starting to feel more and more like squeezing into a sweaty sardine can, you’re right on the money. According to the MTA, ridership is at an all-time high with 149 million passengers cramming into cars during the month of September alone. The MTA also met another milestone last month on September 23rd, when a whopping 6,106,694 took to the rails—this is the most of any day since ridership was first tracked in 1985; and it broke last year’s record of 5,987,595 passengers on October 24th.