Although New York City’s subway is currently in a state of emergency, no government official seems to want to take ownership of the failing transit system. Governor Cuomo and Joseph Lhota, the recently appointed chairman of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, called on Mayor de Blasio and City Hall to contribute more money for repairing the subway system on Thursday, citing a law that puts the city in charge of the track system. As the New York Times reported, Lhota and the MTA are preparing an emergency plan to deal with the subway, expecting more funds to come from the city. The plan, which Cuomo ordered the MTA to create within 30 days, is set to be completed by the end of next week.
After an upper Manhattan track fire this week reminded them that trash catches fire, the Metropolitan Transit Authority is considering limiting the all-too-familiar practice of stuffing one’s face with hot, messy food while riding the subway. The New York Times reports that MTA chairman Joseph J. Lhota said Tuesday that he’d like to curb inappropriate eating as a way to eliminate fires caused by the ensuing litter.
Eight weeks of infrastructure repairs at Penn Station officially began Monday, affecting commuters using the Long Island Rail Road, Amtrak and New Jersey Transit. Amtrak will close some of the station’s 21 tracks for renovations, which will force the MTA to cancel or divert 15-weekday trains between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Overall, there will be a 20 percent reduction in the number of trains to Manhattan from NJ and Long Island. To minimize the impact on riders, the MTA has offered discounted fares and transit alternatives like ferry and bus service (h/t NY Times).
During a press conference Thursday, Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and announced that he would sign an executive order to expedite the process of fixing the system. The governor’s announcement comes just two days after a subway train derailed at 125th Street, injuring over 30 people. His plan includes committing an additional $1 billion in the MTA’s capital plan and reviewing the system’s decades-old equipment.
It seems every day brings New Yorkers new subway drama, train delays and disappointment. While this week’s A-train derailment, which injured dozens of people, is being blamed on human error, not a track defect, the system is still over 100-years old. And despite its signals and tracks in need of a definite upgrade, the biggest cause of subway delays is overcrowding. According to the New York Times, overcrowding now accounts for more than one-third of the nearly 75,000 subway delays across the system each month.
After experiencing a big dose of the NYC “train pain” that seems to be reaching epidemic proprtions lately, subway passenger Michael Sciaraffo has launched a campaign against the MTA for what he feels are lousy safety standards. After being “trapped on a sweltering F train” that got stuck in a tunnel during a recent “colossal breakdown,” Sciaraffo was mad enough to demand that straphangers be provided with a better protocol for escaping to safety in the event of a mass emergency. The city’s already-strained subway system moved 5.6 million passengers a week 2016, leading to a reported 70,000 delays per month over the last five years according to NBC New York.
This week, Governor Cuomo called on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to provide Long Island Rail Road riders a discounted fare for “enduring the inconvenience of a disrupted commute.” In response, the MTA said on Tuesday that the LIRR will offer fare discounts to commuters during Penn Station’s major repairs set to begin this July. The discount will average roughly 25 percent for those traveling to Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn and Hunters Point Avenue in Queens. Plus, according to Crain’s, commuters will receive free morning rush hour subway transfers from those two stations. Starting this week, discounted monthly tickets can be purchased at station vending machines.
Republican mayoral candidate, Paul Massey, unveiled a transit infrastructure plan Monday, that included an idea to create a G train loop that would travel to Manhattan to help commuters during the 15 month-L train shutdown next year. Although little details have been revealed, his plan would presumably travel through Midtown on the F train route, loop back into Queens on routes used by the M and R train and then reconnect with the G at the Court Square stop in Long Island City. While a notable idea, according to Crain’s the MTA looked over Massey’s plan and said its implementation would be impossible.
With six weeks of infrastructure repairs at Penn Station beginning in July, the “summer of hell” for commuters is quickly approaching. In response, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has finally announced its plan to deal with Amtrak’s plan to close some of the station’s 21 tracks for renovations. As Crain’s reported, the MTA will shift three nighttime trains to rush hour and add about 36 cars, while also offering transit alternatives like ferry and bus services. The shutdown will force the MTA to cancel or divert 15-weekday trains between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., affecting nearly 9,600 LIRR morning commuters, set to begin July 10.
Despite months of lobbying efforts by transit advocates and public officials, Mayor de Blasio declined to fund a $50 million program for half-price MetroCards for low-income riders. The mayor has previously said the city could not afford the pilot program, and also shifted the responsibility for funding the program to the state, since Governor Cuomo oversees the MTA. As the Gothamist reported, a study released by the Community Service Society of New York and the Riders Alliance, the NYPD arrested 5,137 New Yorkers for fare evasion between January and mid-March of this year, 90 percent of whom were black or Latino.