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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
Via Jens Schott Knudsen on Flickr
The magazine-stuffed and candy-filled newsstands found across New York City’s subway system may soon be a thing of the past. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it will replace some of the old-school booths with high-tech vending machines, the Daily News reported on Monday. The move comes as the cash-strapped MTA struggles to fill vacant newsstands, with 40 percent of 326 retail spots on the agency’s property empty or closed.
More this way
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio endorsed congestion pricing and a proposal to reorganize the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in a joint 10-point plan released on Tuesday. The joint plan, which requires legislative approval, calls for tolls to be collected south of 61st Street in Manhattan, with the exception of FDR Drive. Cuomo said on Tuesday he hopes the package of transit proposals is included in the state budget, which lawmakers must pass by April 1. The tolls would not take effect until December 2020, if approved.
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Via Colin Mutchler on Flickr
The subway has seen its best on-time performance and the fewest number of delays across the system in four years, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced on Sunday. But while the stats reveal a promising start for the Subway Action Plan, launched by the agency and Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2017, the gains come at a cost for straphangers with off-peak commutes. The rescue plan, as well as New York City Transit President Andy Byford’s $40 billion plan to fix the subway, both which require new sources of funding, will require many subway lines to close on nights and weekends for years, as the New York Times reported.
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This week’s slate of planned subway service changes rivals the weekend’s—and maybe even exceeds it. Service on parts of the B and D will continue to end early, 5 service between E 180 Street and Bowling Green will end at 8:30 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, and the L is only running every 24 minutes during the day. The A and C are the only lines without scheduled work, but unplanned signal issues are likely to shake things up there as well.
Know before you go
A few Brooklyn elected officials asked the MTA to halt half of R subway service at Court Street, with Queens-Manhattan service covering the Whitehall and 71st Avenue stations on the other half, in the interest of streamlining the route and avoiding the traffic delays that plague the line, AM New York reports.
R they serious?
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Bronx residents who ride the B and D lines, take note: beginning today and lasting for three weeks, maintenance, cleaning, and repair work will cause the MTA to close stations between 161st Street-Yankee Stadium and Norwood-205th Street from 9:30pm to 5am as part of their larger Subway Action Plan.
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