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Congestion plan discussions continue

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On March 16 a promotional campaign was launched to raise funds for MTA by charging those who ride Uber in outer city areas more than those who take yellow taxis in Manhattan. Uber, in its turn, is being accused of the wrong pricing policy in and outside of Manhattan. Uber claims that clients in outer areas, which in many cases do not have easy access to mass transportation, will pay three times more than someone who will take a yellow taxi in Manhattan.

The Assembly Democratic proposed adding a fee of $ 2.75 on for-hire cars such as Lyft and Uber for trips beginning or ending below 96th Street in Manhattan.

The Dems Assembly proposed a $1 fee for trips in other parts of the city. And green and yellow taxis would pay an extra charge of 50 cents in the central business zone.

“Instead of the full amount of funding needed, subway repairs and reducing traffic congestion, the Assembly’s plan will unfairly burden outerborough riders who depend on apps like Uber to get around,” the new ad says. It is also said that “Uber supports comprehensive pricing, which is fair and progressive.”

This week, state budget discussions have started. The new budget should be submitted by April 1.

A representative of Assembly Democratic Michael Whyland defended the Assembly’s plan. “(Uber) needs safe roads and bridges for its customers,” he said.

Many transport companies operating in Manhattan note that for many years they pay taxes and openly declare that they have already paid their hundreds of millions of dollars to the city budget. But at the same time, the impossibility of repairing the city traffic and MTA as a whole does not give reasons to approve the law on raising tariffs, company representatives say.

The Assembly Democratic also rejects the recommendation of the Gov. Cuomo’s Fix NYC panel recommendation on the introduction of $11.52 for a trip on usual passenger vehicles in the designated central business district of Manhattan. The Cuomo plan, which would affect only Uber drivers in the Manhattan area, has been supported by the company.

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Why New York’s subway map is SO confusing: Researchers say complex color-coding and ‘navigational hazards’ trip up commuters – and plan to let an AI try and design a better one

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A team of researchers examined the relationship between the New York City subway map’s color-coding and how that impacts commute times
Trunk coloring was found to be more effective when riders switch between lines
No matter what coloring system the map had, they found that navigational hazards consistently prevented commuters from getting to their destination
They believe that artificial intelligence could detect navigational hazards

It’s not just you — New York City’s subway system really is complicated.

And it may have nothing to do with the number of lines, but rather the subway map’s confusing, color-coded design, according to researchers.

A new study from scientists at the University of Kent and the University of Essex looked at the color-coding of New York City’s subway map to determine how that impacts its usability.

They discovered that color-coding plays a role, in addition to a number of irritating ‘navigational hazards’.

The scientists also believe that artificial intelligence software could be used to rectify many of the map-related mistakes plaguing commuters.

Researchers used New York City as a case study because it has switched between different color-coding systems and is known to have several ‘navigational hazards’.

‘The New York City subway has one of the most complex service patterns in the world, and is currently undergoing re-evaluation and development of its information delivery,’ the study noted.

They recruited almost 300 participants and randomly paired them with a type of color-coded map.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5738201/New-Yorks-subway-map-complicated-navigational-hazards-confuse-commuters-study-finds.html

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E train seat removal pilot’s success tough for MTA to call

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Subway riders and their advocates groaned last fall when the MTA launched a pilot to remove some seats from E trains and now, nearly seven months later, the authority can’t say if the project has impacted service.

Last October, the MTA undertook two projects on the E line simultaneously: one to remove seats on some 260 cars and the other to replace every car’s “master controller,” which is responsible for the braking and acceleration of trains.

The mechanical work “attack[ed] a significant cause of failures on these cars,” while the seat removals attempted to get more riders into cars “in a more efficient manner,” MTA chairman Joe Lhota said in a statement announcing the work.
While the controller replacements seem to have paid off in limiting car breakdowns, it’s unclear if the seat removals have had any benefit to service. Shams Tarek, an MTA spokesman, said that there were too many variables that impact service to truly make a determination. He stressed that the pilot was primarily to add capacity inside E trains.

“The refurbished car pilot has been a success with the mean distance between car failures on the E line improving substantially since October,” Tarek said in a statement. “Overall line performance is also dependent upon myriad other factors including signals, track, debris, and issues on other lines that spread to others, and that incredibly broad agenda is exactly what [New York City Transit] President [Andy] Byford is focused on tackling head-on with the fully funded Subway Action Plan and his upcoming corporate plan for NYC Transit.”

E trains are running longer without breaking down since the work took place, according to data provided by the MTA. Trains on the line broke down every 216,693 miles, according to a three-month average of data leading up to last October. Those trains now break down every 306,836 miles, a 41.6 percent increase, according to the three-month average leading into March 2018.

Train sets running with fewer seats could accommodate between 80 and 100 additional commuters, according to the MTA. Adding that extra space might not have made boarding any more efficient — though the impact is difficult to divine because just 100 of the 260 cars running on the E had some seats removed.
Based on the metric Capacity Provided, the percentage of scheduled trains that are actually provided during rush hours, E service actually got slightly worse after the seats were removed, dropping from 93.4 percent of scheduled trains provided in October 2017 to 92.8 percent in March 2018, the latest data available.

And statistics from the metric known as Additional Platform Time, which measures the additional time commuters spend waiting on platforms for their trains by comparing schedules and MetroCard swipes, remained flat at 1.2 minutes when comparing October 2017 data to March 2018.

“If the MTA can’t quantify how much performance has improved or not improved due to the removal of these seats, that’s a problem,” said Jaqi Cohen, campaign coordinator at the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign. “If they’re going to move forward with any other similar pilot program they should at least know measurably how well this worked.”
Tarek said the MTA is looking into differences in dwell times, or the time trains spend at stations. He declined to comment on whether the MTA is considering canning the idea of removing seats or expanding it to other lines.

After a few months in service, riders were mixed on the change.

“I never sit, so for me having that extra standing room is great,” said Joe Giuffre, a sanitation worker who commutes from Suffolk County into Penn Station, where he transfers to the E to Spring Street. “I like the split hand poles they installed, too. I’d like to see them (remove seats) from more cars.”

But riders who had to endure longer commutes on the line were less enthused, among them Ronda Justiniano, a nursing assistant who commutes to midtown from Queens.

“I have mixed feelings about it because the extra space is nice, but there are people with disabilities or pregnant women who need those seats,” she said. “It feels like a Band-Aid. We shouldn’t be waiting 10 to 15 minutes for those trains.”

When Lhota first announced that the MTA would try the idea as part of his $836 million Subway Action Plan, he cited Boston, where the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) launched a similar pilot nearly ten years ago — though to little success.

At the time, the MBTA removed all the seats from two of the 218 cars running on its Red Line. In response to rider feedback, the MBTA restored close to two-thirds of the seating in both cars, according to MBTA spokeswoman Lisa Battiston. Those cars with fewer seats, nicknamed the “Big Reds,” are set to be retired in the years to come as the authority replaces the entire fleet along the line. None of the new cars are to be delivered with any seats removed.

Marc Ebuna, the co-founder and president of Transit Matters, a transportation advocacy group in Boston, said the move to remove the seats was “widely unpopular” in the city.

“This underscores why it’s important for the agencies to focus on the big picture rather than trying some of these small fixes,” Ebuna said. “When the Big Reds were introduced the data collection at the T also wasn’t nearly as robust … so quantitatively justifying these sorts of measures is really difficult, when at the end of the day what the riders are asking for are reliability and frequency.”

Source: https://www.amny.com/transit/e-train-seat-removal-1.18576794

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Heartless crook robs blind man by pretending to be cop in Midtown subway station

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A cruel thief pretending to be a helpful cop swiped a blind man’s wallet in Midtown on Monday, police said.

The 64-year-old victim was entering the subway at 34th St. and Eighth Ave. when a man approached him and offered to help him at about 4:30 p.m., cops said.

The swindler helped the blind man down the stairs and swiped him into the train station, then asked him for his ID.

The victim said his identification was in his backpack. The thief went into the backpack and stole $85 in cash, his credit card and a bill counter.

The thief then used the credit card to charge $500 in goods at a store, police said.

Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/heartless-crook-robs-blind-man-pretending-article-1.3992185

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