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As subway newsstands continue to decline, the MTA is reconsidering its retail strategy at three of the cities busiest stations, the Wall Street Journal reports. Riders will soon have more underground dining and shopping options, as the agency seeks to replicate the success of Grand Central Terminal—which teems with a wide range of bars, restaurants, and shops—and the Turnstyle Underground Market leading to Manhattan’s 59th St-Columbus Circle Station. The three stations set for a revamp are 42nd Street-Port Authority, 42nd Street-Times Square, and 47th-50th Streets-Rockefeller Center.
Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit
The Federal government may be banning Pride flags at U.S. embassies, but here in New York, our city agencies are prouder than ever to show off the rainbow. The latest initiative comes from the MTA, who has revealed a special set of Pride MetroCards, along with Pride-themed Transit merchandise and a new Pride logo on select subway cars. All of the festive additions mark not only World Pride being hosted in NYC this year but the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.
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A state Supreme Court judge has denied the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s request to dismiss a lawsuit over inaccessible subway stations, amNY reported Wednesday. A coalition of accessibility advocacy groups, including the Center for Independence of the Disabled and Disability Rights Activists, filed the suit. They argued that the MTA is in violation of the city’s Human Rights Law because only 24 percent of the subway system’s 472 stations include elevator access.
Photo via Google
Before you get too distraught–you’ll still be able to swipe (and “swipe again”) your MetroCard until 2023. But for those techier New Yorkers, as of noon today, you’ll be able to take advantage of the MTA’s new tap-to-pay fare system when a pilot launches at 16 Manhattan and Brooklyn subway stations on the 4, 5, and 6 lines between Grand Central-42nd Street and Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center, as well as all Staten Island buses. The new payment system, called OMNY (One Metro New York), will employ e-readers that can accept contactless credit, debit, or reloadable prepaid cards, along with digital wallet apps on mobile phones and wearables. Additionally, Google announced that they’ve teamed up with the MTA to enable Google Pay as a payment option.
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A study examining the feasibility of extending Brooklyn’s Utica Avenue subway line has finally launched, NY1 reported. As part of the Utica Avenue Transit Improvement Study, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the city will look into extending the 3 and 4 train south of Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights to neighborhoods like East Flatbush and Marine Park. Funding for the study has been in place since 2015 when Mayor Bill de Blasio designated $5 million for it as part of his One NYC plan.
Details this way
Photo courtesy of the New York Transit Museum
Baseball fans headed to the New York Yankees home opener this week can arrive in the Bronx via a transportation method almost as old as the team itself. On Thursday, the New York Transit Museum is rolling out its 1917 IRT Lo-V train to run from Grand Central to 161st-Street Yankee Stadium, allowing Bronx-bound passengers to travel back in time before officially kicking off the 2019 baseball season.
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On Wednesday U.S. District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled that the MTA was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act for failing to install elevators when it renovated a Bronx subway station. The ruling is the result of a 2016 lawsuit initiated by Bronx Independent Living Services after the MTA refused to make a the Middletown Road elevated subway station in the Bronx wheelchair accessible, though the $27 million renovation included new floors, walls, ceilings and stairs to the street and the train platform, Gothamist reports. Ramos’ ruling stated that the MTA is obligated to install an elevator, regardless of cost, unless it is technically infeasible.
Via City Council Speaker Corey Johnson
In a self-proclaimed atypical State of the City address, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on Tuesday laid out his vision for city control over New York City’s mass transit system. Johnson said municipal control “means we decide how our system is run, we decide how we raise money, and we decide how we spend it.” He added: “Municipal control means saying goodbye to the MTA.” The new entity would be controlled by the mayor and called Big Apple Transit, or “BAT.”
Is it goodbye MTA?
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After facing criticism for the delayed and limited roll-out of Fair Fares, Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Johnson have announced plans to expand the program. Starting this fall, eligible New Yorkers in NYCHA, enrolled students at CUNY, and military veterans below the poverty line will have access to the program, which provides half-priced MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers. By January 2020, open enrollment will expand to all New Yorkers at or below the federal poverty line (a household income of $25,750 for a family of four). The program has also been criticized for its reversal on reduced fares for single trips, but Monday’s announcement came with the good news that a pay-per-ride option will be available by mid-March.
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For decades some New Yorkers have believed that the price of subway fares and pizza slices are linked. Known as the “Pizza Principle,” the economic theory/urban legend tries to account for the fact that, for the past 40 or so years, the cost of a plain slice of pizza has pretty much tracked with the cost of a single ride fare. So far nobody has been able to provide a clear explanation of why that might be—or if there’s more to it than coincidence. The latest MTA board vote on fare increases may have severed the connection between subway and pizza before we could fully understand it. As the Wall Street Journal reports, the “Pizza Principle” doesn’t hold now that gourmet offerings have bumped the average cost of a slice to the $3-$3.50 range while the MTA is maintaining the base fare at $2.75.
More on New York’s strangest economic theory