The NYC subway saw 30 million fewer trips last year

By Dana Schulz, Fri, February 23, 2018

Photo via Colin Mutchler/Flickr

For the second straight year, subway ridership has fallen, reports Time Out New York. Data presented in an MTA Transit Committee meeting this week shows a drop of nearly 30 million trips between 2016 and 2017, or a decrease to 1.727 billion trips last year from 1.756 billion the previous year (though it should be noted this is less than two percent of the total trips taken). Newly appointed transit president Andy Byford attributes the dip to low gas prices and the rise of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. He also told NY1 that poor service may be turning riders away, certainly possible considering that weekdays delays more than tripled between 2012 and 2017.

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Policy, Transportation

penn station, 34th street, nyc subway

Two stations at 34th Street will be renovated; photo via dog97209 on Flickr

The board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved on Thursday a $213 million plan to rehabilitate eight subway stations, despite objections from the authority’s city representatives. Under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $1 billion Enhanced Station Initiative, the stations–six in Manhattan and two in the Bronx– will get outfitted with USB ports, LED lighting, digital countdown clocks and artwork (h/t New York Times). The board first delayed the vote on the construction contracts in January after board members, appointed by Mayor de Blasio, questioned the necessity of these cosmetic improvements when the system’s infrastructure remains in desperate need of repair.

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Astoria, Transportation, Upper West Side 

N train at 30th Ave Station via Wikimedia

Thousands of straphangers on the Upper West Side and Astoria will have to rethink their daily commutes come spring, as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans on closing some stations for up to six months for repairs and upgrades. The station makeovers fall under the MTA’s Enhanced Station Initiative, a plan to improve the reliability and customer experience inside the subway system. Planned enhancements include installing digital countdown clocks at subway entrances, glass barriers, LED lighting and adorning station walls with artwork.

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mta, subway, nyc subway

Workers pumping seawater out of the L-train tunnel after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, photo courtesy of the MTA on Flickr

The subway’s crippling, century-old infrastructure is not the only reason behind the system’s constant delays and disruptions. The other problem involves about 13 million gallons of water, or more depending on the rainfall, that gets pumped out from underground on a nearly daily basis. A perpetual hazard, water can drip onto electrified equipment, cause a short and create chaos, as the New York Times reported. After ineffectively using only sandbags and plywood to fight flooding in the past, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has turned to more high-tech solutions, like flood-proof doors and inflatable gaskets, which will be a part of its $800 million emergency action plan to fix the subway.

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Policy, Transportation

Construction workers giving a tour of the Second Avenue subway; photo via the MTA on Flickr

The exorbitant construction costs of building transit projects, coupled with project delays, could make the New York region lose jobs and businesses to other global cities that are completing transit projects in a more timely, and economical, fashion. A report released on Tuesday from the Regional Plan Association (RPA) says high-costs and delays are ingrained in every part of the public-project delivery, including too-long environmental reviews, inaccurate project budgets and timelines and a lack of communication with labor unions. In their report, the RPA analyzed three projects and their costs and delivery issues: the Second Avenue Subway, East Side Access and the extension of the 7-train.

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Policy, Transportation

Second Avenue Subway station, courtesy of Governor Cuomo’s Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed FY 2019 budget, released earlier this month, calls on New York City to increase its funding to the cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority, forcing the city to pay half of the authority’s $836 million emergency action plan. Another provision in the governor’s proposal allows the MTA to create special “transit improvement” districts and impose higher taxes on property owners in these areas in order to raise money for subway repairs and projects. According to the New York Times, the governor’s plan, known as “value capture,” would apply to future projects that would cost over $100 million. Like most issues involving both state and city cooperation, this proposal has continued the rift over MTA funding between the governor and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has already expressed disapproval of the plan. Find out more

weekend subway service

Photo by Giuseppe Milo / Flickr

This weekend, 1, G, Q, and L riders are in luck: trains will operate as usual (so, expect issues, but no scheduled ones). All other straphangers, especially those on the D and 4 trains: brace for service changes. Prepare both mind and schedules by debriefing with the below:

Subway foresight makes for a better weekend

Policy, Transportation

R211 subway car prototype © MTA/Flickr

The board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Wednesday delayed a vote on construction contracts to renovate two stations in the Bronx and six in Manhattan after MTA members, appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, objected. The contracts fall under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $1 billion plan to outfit 33 subway stations with countdown clocks, LED lighting, USB ports and other amenities. The board’s city representatives questioned why so much money was being put towards unnecessary, cosmetic improvements at stations that are in decent condition already, instead of funding signal and track repairs. As the New York Times reported, the decision to postpone the vote has ramped up the public dispute between de Blasio and Cuomo over MTA funding.

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MTA will spend $4 billion to buy 1,600+ new subway cars

By Emily Nonko, Mon, January 22, 2018

NYC subway, MTA, open gangway subway cars, R211 subway car

R211 subway car prototype © MTA/Flickr

Following a very rough year for the city’s subway system, the MTA announced it’ll spend close to $4 billion to buy over a thousand new train cars to modernize the aging fleet. The New York Times calls it “a major investment meant to help remedy the delays and breakdowns that plague the system.” The MTA has set up a three-phase contract with the Japanese company Kawasaki in which the first new cars should be delivered July 2020. Known as the R211, the cars will have brighter lighting, 58-inch-wide doors, rather than the current 50 inches, and eight digital screens displaying information and advertisements. An initial batch of 20 trains will feature the open-gangway cars, pictured above and on display to New Yorkers late last year.

The cars will also perform

Policy, Transportation

Photo of Cuomo via the governor’s Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled on Tuesday his proposed $168 billion FY 2019 executive budget, aimed mostly at raising revenue and protecting New York taxpayers from future federal cuts with a possible restructuring of the state’s tax code. “Washington hit a button and launched an economic missile and it says ‘New York’ on it, and it’s headed our way,” Cuomo said. “You know what my recommendation is? Get out of the way.”

While the governor’s budget clearly targets President Trump and his administration, it appears to impose more financial responsibility on Mayor Bill de Blasio as well, according to Politico New York. The budget includes three provisions that require the city to increase their funding of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, including making City Hall pay half of the authority’s $836 million emergency action plan. So far, de Blasio has refused to provide any additional funds to the MTA.

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