On Monday, Corey Johnson, the speaker of the New York City Council and Acting Public Advocate, kicked off a five-day tour of the city’s subway system. Johnson, who will hold both posts until the public advocate special election on Feb.26, plans on traveling to stations in all five boroughs to get feedback from real New Yorkers all over the city. “New York City deserves a world-class transportation system, but unfortunately, due to years of neglect and mismanagement, we don’t have one,” Johnson wrote on the City Council’s website.
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After facing sharp criticism this week from almost all New York media outlets for missing the January 1st start date of Fair Fares, Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson held a press conference this afternoon to officially launch the program. As of now, the joint initiative will provide half-priced MetroCards to approximately 30,000 low-income New Yorkers who are receiving cash assistance benefits from the Department of Social Services. In April, an estimated additional 130,000 New Yorkers receiving SNAP benefits will be able to apply. But as the Daily News’ City Hall bureau chief Jill Jorgensen mentioned on Twitter, limiting the program to these two groups means that no undocumented residents are eligible to apply.
New year, same subway challenges. This weekend will be the start of significant service disruptions along the 7 line—making travel between Manhattan and Queens more complicated—and of long-term construction at several stations in Washington Heights, beginning on January 5 with the closure of the 1 train’s 168 Street station (some good news: A and C trains will still be servicing the station). Riders can expect to encounter skipped stops across many lines and long wait times. Read on for a detailed list of the planned service changes.
A program to provide discounted MetroCards to low-income New Yorkers missed its target start date of Jan. 1, and the city has not provided any concrete details on its rollout, amNY reported Wednesday. The Fair Fares pilot program, which was agreed upon in June by Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, would provide half-price MetroCards for those who fall below the federal poverty line. One day after the original launch date passed, the mayor on Wednesday told reporters that more information on how to apply for the program will be provided “in literally just a few days.”
Gum, and Gum disposal, advertising on the 8th Avenue IND, via The Municipal Archives
In December 1939, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia was at war – with chewing gum. The situation was one we would recognize today: the subway was stuck. With subterranean transit stalled and sticking in stations, the Mayor believed the answer was a full-scale assault on chewing gum. La Guardia led the charge against gum, urging New Yorkers to throw away their finished sticks, rather than sticking them to the city’s streets and subway stations. In true La Guardia fashion, he turned his crusade against sticky subways into a city-wide contest, soliciting catchy anti-gum slogans from the public. And in true New York fashion, the public responded with a variety of slogans, from the sweet to the sly, including “Don’t be Dumb, Park Your Gum” and “Shoot the Wad.”
On the last weekend of 2018, the MTA will be running decent subway service. You may have to wait a while for a 4 or 5 train, and several trains are being rerouted via other lines. Read details about your line below to avoid confusion. Minor service disruptions on New Year’s Day and expanded service on LIRR and Metro-North should have most travelers starting 2019 with minimal frustration.
Also, this Sunday will be the last opportunity to ride on vintage subway trains from the 1930s. You can catch one on Sunday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., they’ll be running from 2 Avenue to Rockefeller Center on the F and going uptown on the A, C, D from 59 Street to 125 Street.
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On weeknights in January and the first week of February, as well as all weekends in January, the 7 train will not run between 34th Street-Hudson Yards and Queensboro Plaza, the MTA announced. As 6sqft reported last month, after seven years of installing modern signals on the 7 line, the system failed the first day it went live. The upcoming work will address repairs needed on a 2,000-foot section of track near Grand Central, “where defects were discovered” during this recent Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) modern signaling system installation.
The MTA will take advantage of a period of low ridership at the end of the year to perform critical signal and power upgrades on the E, M, and J lines, which will be operating on a restricted schedule through the end of the year. The scheduled work will allow them to fit a month’s worth of weekend repairs into just a few days. Work on the E and M will be wrapped up before New Year’s and should not affect your travel plans, but repairs on the J will continue into the first week of 2019.
As the dreaded L train shutdown of April 2019 looms ever nearer, the fine folks at Citymapper have created an addition to their interactive mapping app to show you what your commute will look like when the L is not an option. Use the SuperRouter to plan a trip between Brooklyn and Manhattan and see which of your alternative routes works best.
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In the summer of 2017, the MTA implemented a new policy to get rid of stock recordings (“we are delayed because of train traffic ahead of us” or “we are being held momentarily by the train’s dispatcher”) and “give more detailed announcements” when trains are delayed. And it looks like they have now taken their honesty campaign to Twitter, correcting a rider that his train was not delayed by another disabled train but rather because “one train crew member had to make an emergency pitstop to the restroom.”