The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Thursday unveiled its proposed $17 billion 2020 budget and its four-year financial plan as the agency grapples with massive impending debt. With a projected operating deficit of $426 million by 2023, the MTA wants to lay off 2,700 workers and raise fares twice by four percent over the next four years. Despite the impending financial crisis, the agency plans to spend nearly $250 million over the next four years to hire 500 police officers to patrol subway stations.
Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit / Flickr
At the end of May, the MTA rolled out its new tap-to-pay fare system, called OMNY (One Metro New York), at 16 subway stations on the 4, 5, and 6 lines between Grand Central-42nd Street and Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center, in addition to all Staten Island buses. After a successful pilot–OMNY surpassed three million taps last week–the agency has now announced that it will add the contactless payment system at 48 more subway stations next month, including Penn Station, Whitehall Street, and all stops on the 1 train between Rector Street and 59th Street-Columbus Circle.
In June, Governor Cuomo advocated for an MTA task force that would specifically address issues related to subway speeds. After an initial analysis, the Speed and Safety Task Force found that subways in 2019 were running slower than they did 20 years ago due in large part to a flawed signal system and deficient posting of speed limits. Using that information, the Task Force released this week its preliminary findings, which note that “train speeds could be increased by as much as 50 percent” if these issues are fixed.
The city’s police department has launched a new surveillance system to keep an eye on homeless New Yorkers at more than 10 subway stations, THE CITY reported on Thursday. NYPD officers will watch feeds from more than 100 live cameras that show views from stations and platforms in order to respond to “quality-of-life and public safety concerns,” the city announced in August. The monitoring program comes as part of a city and state effort to address homelessness in the subways.
Despite recent progress–and a federal lawsuit–only 23 percent of New York City’s 493 subway and Staten Island Railway (SIR) stations are fully ADA-accessible, a statistic which puts the city dead last among the country’s 10 largest metro systems for accessibility of its transit stations. The MTA has made a commitment to funding accessibility in its much-discussed Capital Plan, but hundreds of stations are still without without plans for ADA access. On Friday Speaker Corey Johnson and the City Council released a report showing that the use of zoning tools to incentivize or require private development projects to address subway station access could speed up progress toward the goal of system-wide ADA access–and simultaneously cut public expense. The report, and an interactive map, show the current system, future plans and what the use of zoning tools could accomplish.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board on Wednesday approved its largest capital plan ever, with a $51.5 billion investment in the city’s transit system. The 2020-2024 capital plan will invest a whopping $40 billion in subway and buses alone, which includes fully funding the long-awaited second phase of the Second Avenue Subway. In phase two, three new subway stations will be built with the Q train extending to East Harlem.
Image via Wikimedia cc.
As of today, the MTA has added four express trains to the F line during morning and evening rush hours. Two F trains will run express between the Church Avenue and Jay Street-MetroTech stations, stopping only at Seventh Avenue, during the morning and evening rush hours. Additionally, two Manhattan-bound trains will run express from Church Avenue between 7 and 7:30 a.m. and two Coney Island-bound trains will run the express route between 5 and 5:40 p.m. Previously, as the Daily News reports, the F train’s route was the longest in the whole subway system without an express option.
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.
Image © 6sqft
The MTA’s five-year capital spending plan for major system-wide repairs from 2020 to 2024 has been under increasing scrutiny from public transportation watchdog groups, who have asked the MTA to provide more detailed priorities and policy goals for the project. The organizations–including the newly-formed Build Trust Campaign made up of TransitCenter, the Riders Alliance, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign and Reinvent Albany, released a report Monday asking that the MTA and Gov. Andrew Cuomo significantly improve transparency in planning the project and provide a fiscal roadmap to outline the plans for major repairs to the subway, Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North, and the bridges and tunnels that fall under MTA management, Curbed reports. Cuomo also issued a letter to the MTA board Monday outlining his own list of priorities for the Capital Plan.
Photo by Stephen Rees on Flickr
While the L train slowdown has gone largely unnoticed so far by commuters, the MTA is throwing an unexpected wrench in next weekend’s travel plans. The L train will not run between Manhattan and Brooklyn from Friday, Sept. 13 to early Monday, Sept. 16 to make space for new accessibility projects, the agency announced on Wednesday. The shutdown allows the MTA to install an escalator at the Union Square station and make the L and F, M platform at 14th Street-6th Avenue more accessible.