A R179 A train at Broad Channel; Photo by Mtattrain on Wikimedia

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority pulled nearly 300 new subway cars from service this week because of problems with the door’s locking mechanism, officials revealed Thursday. The entire fleet was decommissioned after two recent incidents were reported of doors opening while the trains were still moving. During a press conference on Thursday, Andy Byford, the president of NYC Transit, said the MTA plans to hold manufacturer Bombardier “fully accountable” and hire a third-party review to investigate the inspections before the cars are cleared to return to service.

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Technology, Transportation

Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit / Flickr

By the close of 2019, the MTA had installed its OMNY tap-to-pay fare system at 64 subway stations across Manhattan and Brooklyn and all Staten Island busses. Some of the busiest spots that already have the contactless payment system include all 16 stations on the 4, 5, and 6 lines between Grand Central-42nd Street and Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center, as well as Penn Station-34th Street. According to a new press release, OMNY will now expand to 60 more stations by the end of January–including Herald Square, Bryant Park, World Trade Center, and Jay Street-MetroTech–bringing the total to 124 stations.

See all the new stations

Midtown, Transportation

Photo by Javier Guiterrez Acedo on Flickr

After having been closed to car and truck traffic during the busiest times of day since November 29th, West 49th and West 50th streets between Fifth and Sixth avenues–the two streets on either side of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree–may become permanently car-free if some city officials have their way. Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that he believes the vehicle-free streets were safer for the estimated 750,000 pedestrians who were expected to traverse the plaza each day during the crowded holiday season, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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Queens, Transportation

Photo by Tdorante10 via Wikimedia Commons

On Tuesday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced a sweeping draft plan that will completely redesign the Queens Bus Network for the first time in a century. The agency took a “blank slate” approach to completely redraw the routes, which were mostly adapted from old trolley lines from the turn of the 20th century. The plan focused on creating faster North-South connections between Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx and increasing service speed by expanding the average bus stop from 850 feet to 1,400 feet.

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holidays, Transportation

How to get around NYC this New Year’s Eve

By Alexandra Alexa, Mon, December 30, 2019

Image by Anthony Quintano via Flickr

Tomorrow roughly one million people will brave the cold and uncomfortable conditions to witness a quintessential New York celebration: New Year’s Eve in Times Square. The event is free and open to the public but NYPD will begin restricting traffic in the area as early as 4 a.m. and the viewing areas will start filling up around 11 a.m. so planning ahead is crucial. Here’s what you need to know.

All the NYE details here

Astoria, Transportation, Washington Heights

MTA New York City Transit President Andy Byford at the 168 St Station on Monday, December 23, 2019, along with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Assemblymember Al Taylor. Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

After a year, the 168th Street 1 train station has finally reopened, marking the first complete elevator replacement at this stop in more than 100 years. In addition, last week, the MTA announced that the Astoria Boulevard N, W station has reopened after nine months and the completion of the first phase of its station modernization.

More info

Policy, Transportation

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Less than 25 percent of the NYC subway’s 472 stations are accessible, but the MTA has pledged to increase that percentage to roughly 40 under it’s proposed $51.5 billion 2020-2024 Capital Plan. Back in September, the agency revealed the first 48 stations it would make fully ADA accessible, and now they have announced 20 more (the final two will be announced at a later date), all of which will receive a $5.2 billion investment. Through the upgrades, the MTA’s goal is to ensure that no rider is more than two stops from an accessible station.

See the full list of stations

Policy, Transportation

Photo by rhythmicdiaspora via Flickr cc

When the MTA unveiled its proposed $17 billion 2020 budget and four-year financial plan in November, one of the biggest takeaways was a proposal conceived by Governor Cuomo to increase the number of MTA police officers in subway stations by 500–a 20 percent increase–over the next four years. Though he said it was necessary to address “quality of life” issues such as homelessness, panhandling, and fare evasion, those in opposition pointed to its $249 million price tag, which will only add to the MTA’s projected operating deficit of $433 million by 2023. In the lead up to the plan being approved yesterday, elected officials also expressed concern over how the plan will affect low-income New Yorkers. “Arresting hard-working people who cannot afford a $2.75 fare is, in effect the criminalization of poverty,” wrote Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a letter to the Governor.

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Policy, Transportation

Photo by Marc A. Hermann for MTA NYC Transit

The first of the city’s new electric buses hit the streets on Sunday, as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority moves to fully electrify their fleet by 2040. Fifteen new electric articulated buses will run on the M14 Select Bus Service route on the 14th Street busway, a car-free strip between Third and Ninth Avenues introduced by the city in October as a way to speed up commutes. The busway has proven popular with riders, with new data showing a significant increase of M14 SBS ridership compared to last year.  More here

City Living, Transportation

A jet snow thrower in action via MTA’s Flickr

No matter how today’s weather pans out, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is more than ready to clear subways, buses, and commuter railways of snow. The MTA maintains a fleet of super-powered snow throwers, jet-powered snow blowers, and specially designed de-icing cars to tackle the icy mess. For today’s winter storm, there will be “more than 500 snow melting devices at switches, over 1,600 3rd rail heaters, about 10 snowthrowers, four jetblowers, and seven de-icer train cars,” according to the MTA.

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